Failing to remember: afterlives and Stolpersteine in the Nordic region
Artist Gunter Demnig’s counter-memorial project Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) installs small brass plaques into the pavement in front of homes from which Nazi victims were deported. Extending to 27 countries, over 70,000 plaques are embossed with the names and fates of individuals memorialized. This article discusses the material, visual and narrative representations of the afterlives of the victims, addressing how the memory of their lives has been muted, forgotten and reinserted into the landscape. It is based on fieldwork throughout Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Stolpersteine, as objets chargés, engender contestations: they are celebrated, banned, cherished and vandalized. For some, Stolpersteine can serve as ersatz gravestones. Their afterlives are complex and destabilizing, both inspiring and politically controversial. Drawing from Nora’s notion lieux de mémoires, the concept of lieux chargés is introduced to theorize the salient sites and events relating to the processes, dynamics and emerging rituals surrounding Stolpersteine.
Link to article including link to pdf, Failing to remember: afterlives and Stolpersteine in the Nordic region
Failing to remember: afterlives and Stolpersteine in the Nordic region. 2020: 365-396. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.18647/3464/jjs-2020