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Stolpersteine Stumbling Stones

Cobblestone-sized memorials for individual victims of Nazism, created by artist Gunter Demnig.

TravelCurious Tip

Even if you don’t actually see a stolperstein, you may still stumble across one; they are slightly raised above pavement level.

Literally translating as “Stumbling Stones”, the Stolpersteine may be the largest and most haunting art project every conceived. But it’s not something you can visit; instead, parts of it lie everywhere you go in Berlin - it’s intended to be a constant presence and an all-pervasive reminder of one of the greatest tragedies in modern history.


Hiding in Plain Sight

Keep your eyes to the ground for an hour as you walk around, and the chances are you’ll see a small brass cube embedded somewhere in the pavement. Look closer, and you’ll be able to make out an inscription, which usually begins with the words Hier wohnte, meaning Here Lived. These words are followed by an epitaph for a man, woman or child who once lived in the adjacent building and was deported to a concentration camp and abused, enslaved or murdered during the Holocaust.


A Continent-Wide Project

The effect of the Stolpersteine is chilling and immediate. The sheer quantity of them - there are now over 50,000 in 18 countries - and the frequency with which you can find them, serves as an omnipresent reminder of this horrendous episode. The stones are the brainchild of artist Gunter Demnig, who began the project in 1992 with a stone laid in front of Cologne’s town hall, which had once been a centre for enthusiastic support for the Nazi regime. Since then, Demnig has travelled far and wide across the continent, placing the stones in more than 550 European cities.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
The Reichstag
Constructed to house the Parliament of Germany, this imposing building has had a turbulent past.
Soviet War Memorial
The War Memorial, erected by the Soviet Union, is one of three memorials to fallen Russian soldiers in the city.
Brandenburg Gate
This 18th-century neoclassical triumphal arch is one of the best-known German landmarks: the grand entrance to the capital of Prussia.
Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial is a stark, effective reminder of a dark chapter in the history of the world.
Unter den Linden
A scenic boulevard flanked by linden trees, perfect for a cozy stroll through the Mitte district of Berlin.
Palace of Tears
Outstanding in its historical depth, this museum illustrates life under the East-West divide.

Related Tours

Remembering World War II: Memorial Tour of Berlin
Travellers are usually humbled by the extreme efforts, honesty and openness of Germans recollections of the Second World War. A visit to Berlin is a reminder to never forget. This tour explores the German culture of memory, while talking about those who lost their lives and were persecuted.  

  • Begin at the Reichstag – see the bullet holes and graffiti left by Soviet solders from 1945.
  • Visit many of Berlin’s memorials, dedicated to those murdered and persecuted in World War II. 
  • Explore Tiergarten Park, Unter de Linden, Bebelplatz and the Stolpersteine stones, which commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime in Berlin. 
  • Finish at beautiful Museum Island and view the rebuilding of the Royal Palace
Learn about the final moments of World War II in Europe. See the bullet holes, shrapnel and Soviet graffiti that cover the Reichstag building. Visit Berlin’s memorials to the victims of war and those persecuted. These include memorials to the Holocaust victims, Albert Einstein, Book Burning, Neue Wache and the Soviet War Monument. Explore the beautiful Tiergarten Park, hear the stories of desperate Berliners who used the park as farmland and for firewood after the war. Next see the majestic Brandenburg Gate, and wander along the historic Unter den Linden Boulevard. 
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