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Munich 'no' to commemorative cobble stones

July 29, 2015

Munich's city council has decided not to give the go-ahead to brass-plated cobblestones engraved with the names of victims of the Nazi regime. Although popular across Germany, some say the stones are disrespectful.

Galerie - Jüdisches Leben in Berlin
Image: DW/R. Pelzl

The Bavarian capital's council said it would instead honor the memory of the victims with commemorative plaques and small stone monuments in public places and on the walls of houses around the city.

The Jewish community in Munich and several other victims' associations have long been against the cobblestones, called "Stolpersteine," or "stumbling blocks" in German, as they feel it is disrespectful to tread on people's names on public roads and pavements.

Some also argue that it is legally unclear whether permission to place the stones has to be given by the victims' families.

The decision also triggered plenty of reaction on Twitter, with many disappointed about the council's decision. This user says it's a "defeat for humanity."

This user says it's a "shame that Munich will remain without Stolpersteine."

The German sculptor Gunter Demnig is the brainchild behind the commemorative bricks that usually display the name of one victim of the Holocaust and a brief synopsis of his or her life. They are usually placed near the victim's former residence.

His idea has been adopted across 500 towns and cities in Germany and several places elsewhere in Europe.

ng/kms (AFP, dpa)