Digital Project Proposal: Mapping the Stolpersteine in Germany and Europe on ArcGIS

Emma Todd

         Stolpersteine, or stumbling stones, can be found throughout the streets of Germany and in other European countries. Each stone is engraved with the name of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Since this initiative started it has been expanded to include other victims of the Holocaust, but it originated to remember Jewish victims. These stones are placed in the ground in front of each person’s house and are engraved with their name, birth date, deportation date, the concentration camp they were sent to, and if possible, a death date. They are a way to publicly remember the victims of the Holocaust. The brass stones are placed directly into the pavement and stand out amongst the standard stones that make up the sidewalk. The project began in 1992 by a German artist, Gunter Demnig, and today it is one of the largest decentralized memorials. The stones are scattered all over Germany and more countries throughout Europe. When the Nazi’s destroyed Jewish cemeteries the headstones were often repurposed for sidewalk stones.

Stolperstein for Maria Lieberman in Berlin

         For my project I would like to make a digital map of the Stolpersteine and I think ArcGIS would be the best platform for this. While a map of the Stolpersteine does already exist it is very plain and just has dots that show the stones location. I would like to add photos, context and history to the map to make it more of a visual experience. Because of the limited time I have to complete this project I plan to select a few stones in an area and make a small map of those. Ideally this could be used by people at the sites to lead them to the Stolpersteine and give more information or for people who are unable to go to Germany or Europe and look at the stones in person.

One Reply to “Digital Project Proposal: Mapping the Stolpersteine in Germany and Europe on ArcGIS”

  1. Hi Emma,
    This sounds like a great project and the fit with working in GIS makes a lot of sense. My sense is that ArcGIS’s StoryMaps platform is likely the most straightforward way to make this kind of map accessible online, so it may be good to look into that. I could also see something like this being effective in a platform like HistoryPin.

    Given that there are a lot of this distributed memorial, if you were to pursue this as your project you are likely going to need to think through how to scope the phase of the project you would do for class. I think your idea to provide context on the people memorialized in the stones as part of your project, I think you might well think about doing that for a relatively small number of them, like 10 or 15. For that, you might think about picking a set of these that are relatively near each other as a starting point.

    One other thing to think about with this is who you intend the audience to be for it and how they would use it. Like do you imagine this is a resource for tourists, or for k-12 educators, or any number of other potential groups. As you think through developing the resource it would be useful to have that user community identified so that you can confirm that what you are looking at developing is a good fit to their needs/interests.

    Overall, great idea for a project.

    Best, Trevor

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