Anne Aulinger, with Ben Fisher, organized a community effort to clean and shine Stolpersteine throughout the city of Berlin. These memorials mark the locations of the last known addresses of the victims of the Holocaust. This is the second year they have participated in this project and they attracted a diverse group from Germans, Jews, interfaith couples, a doctor from Italy and a filmmaker from Turkey. Aulinger and Fisher wanted to make the event more intimate and community-based, rather than inviting politicians and speakers and creating a large-scale event. She hoped to reiterate the idea that the Stolpersteine are purchased and put into place by locals and that this commemoration thrives because of actions of the residents of Berlin.
“We had the idea of why not do a cleaning in the area where we live, to commemorate, and not to make it a big event with politicians speaking, and all that – just a community thing,” said Aulinger, a German-born political educator who has worked to combat racism and anti-Semitism over the last years, including in her work as a fellow at the human rights nonprofit Humanity in Action.
“It’s a really low-key thing to do. The stolpersteine are something I grew up with,” said Aulinger. “When they began to lay them in Germany I was still a child, and I think it’s something I basically took for granted because I’d never realized until some years ago that it’s really the initiative of individual people. The project depends on people themselves to bring it to their town.”
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