Outside our apartment at Hufelandstraße 31, there is a small brass brick built into the cobblestone entranceway. Our friend Christian told us about the Stolperstein – stumbling stones – across Berlin. They’ve all been lovingly placed to commemorate the millions of victims of the Nazi regime.

Artist Gunter Demnig started the project in the late ‘90s with 50 brass blocks installed throughout Berlin. Since then, it has mushroomed and there are over 30,000 stumbling blocks installed in front of homes & apartment buildings throughout Germany. Each Stolperstein is engraved with the name and details of the person who was killed by the Nazi regime. Demnig relies on local residents, schools, religious & secular organizations to research the victims, and the blocks are all privately funded.

It’s one thing for us to visit memorials to remember those who were killed, but these experiences feel abstract to us. It’s another to stumble upon these blocks and remember day in & day out that these were people who lived amongst us. It’s become a really beautiful way to pay tribute to the victims as we walk the cobblestone streets of this Berlin we’ve come to love.

For more reading about Berlin’s Stolperstein, visit: NPR and Stolpersteine in Berlin.