CfP: Stumbling Stones – a European form of remembrance between intervention and recognition

The Stumbling Stones memorial project has been active for over 20 years now. It started as a small artistic intervention in a public space: by laying brass plaques in the ground in front of specific houses, measuring 10x10cm and bearing the names and dates of persecuted former residents, the artist Gunter Demnig aimed to commemorate the fate of those persecuted during National Socialism. In the beginning the project was often enough realized without official permission or encountered strong opposition. But over time, its popularity grew and it now counts among Germany’s best known and respected memory projects. Gunter Demnig and his team have not only received various honours and, increasingly, official backing, but are also supported by a broad volunteer movement. Their supporters are not only in Germany – in the meantime, Stumbling Stones have been laid in almost all the countries which were occupied by the Wehrmacht.

The conference will focus on an exchange of views concerning the project’s development in terms of commemoration work and its political-historical contribution, and the positioning of the Stumbling Stones project within the European cultures of remembrance. We would like to invite you to send us proposals for keynotes on the following topics:

  1. Stumbling Stones are now being laid in more than 20 European countries. What can we learn from this about the different European cultures of remembrance – do similarities exist? Can differences be found in the way the project is established in memory politics?
  2. What motivates people to have Stumbling Stones laid and/or to participate in the project? Do their motives vary from generation to generation? Does the Stumbling Stones project serve the purpose of exoneration on a personal as well as a societal level? Can it exert a “healing effect” on the relatives of persecutees? How does the Stumbling Stones project affect the image of Germany abroad?
  3. Nowadays, the reappraisal of the history of National Socialism, and thus the Stumbling Stones project, is part of the national identity of the majority of German society, in political as well as social terms. But how are the voids of remembrance politics represented in this project?

The conference is organised by the “Koordinierungsstelle Stolpersteine Berlin”. It is part of the “Aktives Museum Faschismus und Widerstand in Berlin e.V.” and realizes the project within 12 Berlin districts where local groups of voluntaries do the work. The “Koordinierungsstelle Stolpersteine Berlin” publishes books and teaching aids and has designed an exhibition about the Stumbling Stones project. Furthermore, it organises lectures on various topics connected to remembrance politics on a regular basis.
The conference will be held in English and German and welcomes interested scholars of memory studies and historical research to participate. We would explicitly like to encourage transdisciplinary approaches. We plan to publish the conference proceedings and will make contributions towards travel expenses where possible. As the conference will take place after the laying of further Stumbling Stones in Berlin, we are very glad to announce that Gunter Demnig will be able to open the conference in person.

If you are interested in presenting the findings of your research at the conference, please send us an abstract (max. 3500 characters) of your proposed lecture and a short CV in German or English by 31st January 2018 to

Email: info [at] stolpersteine-berlin [dot] de.

All letters of acceptance will be sent by 28th February 2018. 


Koordinierungsstelle Stolpersteine Berlin
Conference on the 14th and 15th June 2018
Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand
Stauffenbergstraße 13-14, 10785 Berlin

Deadline: 31st January 2018


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