The Munich City Council said that the small brass ‘Stolpersteine’, meaning stumbling blocks, had no future in the city after a majority of ‘no’ votes by the council and the Jewish Community of Munich, the largest Jewish group in the city.
Instead, the city said it will allow the placement of plaques on the walls of the houses where Nazi victims once lived and is also drafting plans for a central monument with all the names of Munich victims.
The cobblestone-sized stumbling blocks were started as a project by German artist Gunter Demnig in 1996 as a way to commemorate the millions of victims of the Holocaust with a stone placed outside their last known residence. The stones can be found in the pavements of more than a dozen countries across Europe.
Each stone includes the victim's name, date of birth and information about their fate: whether they were deported to a concentration camp and which one, as well as where they were murdered or if they were forced to flee.
But Munich, the historical home of the Nazi movement, banned the stones in 2004 after pressure from a perhaps unexpected place: the president of Munich’s Jewish Community, Charlotte Knobloch.
Knobloch, a German-Jew who lived in hiding as a Christian during the Second World War, has said that the stones are not an adequate way to remember victims because their memories are desecrated every time someone walks over the blocks.
“People murdered in the Holocaust deserve better than a plaque in the dust, street dirt and even worse filth,” she said in a statement to AFP in January.
Nearly 100,000 people had signed a petition, calling on the city to lift the ban.