In 1920s Berlin we don’t just party and pretend we’re only interested in the fun and glamorous side of history.
We also discuss the poverty, political tensions and the dark clouds of Nazism that are gathering over our beloved city.
We want to experience Berlin before the Nazis took over but at the same time never forget what came next.
As part of our strong connection with RL 1920s Berlin, we have chosen to support an impressive project that commemorates individual victims of Nazism by sponsoring a Stolperstein.
“Stolperstein” is the German word for “stumbling block”, “obstacle”, or “something in the way.”
Throughout RL Berlin (and many other cities) you can find, or stumble over, thousands of these little brass stones in the pavement.
These memorials commemorate individuals who were consigned by the Nazis to prisons, euthanasia facilities, sterilization clinics, concentration camps, and extermination camps, as well as those who responded to persecution by emigrating or committing suicide.
While the vast majority of stolpersteine commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust, others have been placed for Sinti and Romani people (also called gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christians (both Protestants and Catholics) opposed to the Nazis, members of the Communist Party and the Resistance, military deserters the physically and mentally disabled and all kinds of victims of the Nazi regime.
The stones are dug into the pavement outside the houses where these people used to live.
A very moving and emotional monument to a single person can sometimes leave a bigger impact then a monument to thousands.
When I fist stumbled upon such a stone during my visit to RL Berlin, I must confess I had not heard about them and found it hard not to burst into tears on the spot.
It seems suitable that our 1920s Berlin Project, created to remember what the city was like before 1933, should be involved with the Stolpersteine.
We have been in contact with the artist Gunter Demnig and other people involved with this great way to remember who and what was lost, and they are very excited about what we do here in Second Life.
We, in turn, are of course in awe of their great undertaking.
So we decided to sponsor this initiative by placing a donation meter at our Teleportplatz.
And in 2012 we were able to pay for the first Stolperstein to be installed.
This is the stone we supported back then, you can see it on the Rykestrasse 54 in RL Berlin;
We decided to sponsor two more and we also reached that goal very quickly!
And recently we filled up our donation sign once more so now we can support another Stolperstein.
That makes 4 monuments to individuals sponsored by our community!
Thank you very much everyone who made the donations, especially Maureen B (Hucuba Stratten) who made one very generous donation that filled the meter instantly.
Unfortunately it takes a lot of work and time for these stones to be made, they are made by one man who then personally travels around Europe to install them.
It can take years for the stone to actually be placed, especially if you insist on them being placed in a certain location.
I’m still waiting for the 2 we sponsored earlier to be installed and now a third one is added to the waiting list.
I don’t mind, it is a wonderful thing and I can be very patient.
However, after sponsoring 4 of these stones we may switch to another history and Berlin related cause to collect for while we wait for the stones to be installed.
Because sometimes it is just very nice to see what your donations can achieve right away.
So, for the time being, we’re looking into other places and causes we want to collect money for.
Maybe a little Berlin museum, restoration of a landmark, an anti-Nazi cause, etc.
If you have any ideas or suggestions, let us know!
After a while I hope to return to the Stolperstein project though, because the idea helping an individual victim being remembered is really poignant and then going to RL Berlin and actually seeing the stone is indescribable.
Anyway, I will contact the artist again and have another name added to our list!