“We still have a lot of stories about people (and their family members) for whom we have placed stones,” says Cees Weltrevrede, chairman of the Stolpersteine Foundation. “There are now about 300 on the site, but we can still go up to almost 400. That is why we want to continue for another two years.” But that requires money: 10,000 euros to be precise. “We have hired a designer for the website, but she has to be paid. We cannot provide such a website ourselves,” he explains.
Stolpersteine, stumbling stones in Dutch, are small, square pebbles measuring 10x10x10 centimeters, covered with a bronze-colored metal plate. The name of the victim, date of birth, place and date of deportation and death are written by hand in the picture. The stones are placed in front of the houses where the Jewish victims lived. More than 70,000 stones have now been placed in Europe. In the Netherlands, the first stumbling stone was laid on November 29, 2007 in the town of Borne.
Short on money
Until recently, money came into the Dordrecht foundation from family members or acquaintances, who helped finance the purchase of the stones. “But we did our bit, and that’s the media attention it generated.” Weltrevrede hopes for donations from private individuals or companies. “Anything is allowed, as long as money comes, we can continue.”
Giving victims an identity
And it is important that they can continue. “A stumbling stone is actually a kind of grave. It is the only place where these people are commemorated,” Weltrevrede explains. “The Germans were so mean, they made sure that your name no longer existed, that you were given a number, that your corpse no longer existed, your body was burned and your ashes were scattered. In short: you no longer exist. That’s happened to a lot of people. We are the only ones in Dordrecht who actually give those people their identity back. And thus endorse their existence. And we do that with their stories on the website.”
RTV Dordrecht was present at the installation of the last Stolpersteine in April. View the report we made about this below.