A Commemoration Stone (Denkstein), hitherto also called a Rostock Stumbling Block (Rostocker Stolperstein), is a memorial or a «cenotaph» in a sidewalk of Rostock on which a name, final place of residence, location of death, and date of death are engraved.

The booster club of the Max-Samuel-Haus, the «Association of the Friends and Sponsors of the Max-Samuel-Haus e.V.» («Verein der Freunde und Förderer des Max-Samuel-Hauses e.V.») places the stones as monuments to the people who were persecuted and killed as Jews during the Nazi era. Each block, partially from stone and from metal, is placed in the pavement in front of buildings where the victims lived or worked.

The Zuckermann family in 1933.

A stumbling block for Perle Zuckermann (1897–1942) in Rostock’s Altschmiedestraße 26.

«Commemoration Stones» are lasting marks: tangible, simple, unobtrusive, and components of the city’s image. Behind every stone is a terrible fate. The life and work of many of these persecuted individuals still have meaning today. Many Jews of Rostock were killed as they were persecuted by the Nazis. Some were driven into suicide, others died due to being denied protection, and again others were killed in ghettos or concentration camps. Only a few succeeded in fleeing to other countries where they escaped the Holocaust of the Jews, also called the Shoah (שואה). Far fewer survived deportation into the intended extermination.

Would you like to support our project?

In the year 2000, the booster club adopted the idea of Gunter Demnig – which had first been realised, starting in Cologne, since 1992 – and began placing Stumbling Blocks around Rostock. This initiative has been continued by the booster club since 2016 as the Commemoration Stone Project (Denkstein-Projekt).

In 2015, the «Foundation – Tracks – Gunter Demnig» (Stiftung – Spuren – Gunter Demnig) conflicted with the continued use of the term «Stumbling Block» (Stolperstein) by Rostock’s initiative. The Demnig foundation copyrighted the German term «Stolperstein» in 2006. The Demnig foundation would not allow continued use of the term, not even in exchange for a fee, as the booster club had offered. The booster club therefore chose the term «Commemoration Stone» (Denkstein) in order to continue to include the many associated groups active in Rostock’s initiative of commemoration.

In the future, the laying of stones will be scheduled according to how relatives and friends of the killed individuals can arrange their participation. After that will be the coordination of the remaining participatory parties (researchers, students, sponsors, and the many enthusiasts who celebrate the unveiling of these stones). The stones are financed exclusively via donations from individuals, associations, and companies.
According to current knowledge, approximately 100 Rostockers were murdered as Jews in the Shoah, in whose memory an equal number of Commemoration Stones are to be laid. 66 of these have already been placed. There are also Commemoration Stones arranged by different organisations for other victims of Nazism, such as the politically persecuted, the so-called «anti-socials» or homosexual people. For example, on the grounds of the former psychiatric hospital Gehlsheim such stones have been placed to commemorate the mentally ill victims murdered there.

With a donation of 135€ you make a Commemoration Stone possible. Each Commemoration Stone is a stumbling block in the views of attentive observers, making them stop, read and think.

Bank information of the booster club for your donation:
IBAN: DE83 1305 0000 0201 1609 51
Account owner: Förderverein Max-Samuel-Haus
Bank name: OstseeSparkasse Rostock
Note: If you would like a charitable donation certificate for your donation, then please inform us via email. We will send your certificate to your postal address.