In Berlin, unease around the memorial stones

In Berlin, unease around the memorial stones

In Berlin, unease around the memorial stones


All Germans know the Stolpersteina, (literally: “stones on which one stumbles”), these small pebbles covered with a brass plate on which the name of a victim of Nazism is engraved. There are 8,802 of them on the Berlin sidewalks alone, of which fifty-six in front of Wilhelmstrasse 92, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1870 to 1945.

Installed on November 7, 2021, these fifty-six pebbles “to pay tribute to the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have been persecuted by the National Socialists because of their faith, their origin, their ancestry, their political commitment, their sexual orientation or their worldview”as you read on the inscription that heads them.

But all those who figure on these fifty-six Stolpersteina do they really deserve such an honor? This is the question raised by the weekly Last Spiegelat the end of July, in an investigation which stated that at least three of them were sympathizers of Nazism.

So with Georg von Broich-Oppert. On the pavement that pays homage to him it is written that he was “compulsorily retired in 1935”. The article by Spiegel specifies that this diplomat, sent to Vienna in 1932, a few months before the Nazis came to power, was then dismissed from civil service because his father had “parents of Jewish origin”.

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But, according to the weekly, a Nazi lawyer went out of his way to plead his case, going so far as to ensure under oath that he had rendered a valuable service to the NSDAP [le parti nazi] and the SA [sections d’assaut hitlériennes]adding that I did “led his life in Vienna in the spirit of National Socialism”.

“The precedents of these people must be reexamined”

Middle name that raises questions: Alfred Lütgens. Appointed Consul General in Poznan, Poland, in 1928, he too was “compulsorily retired in 1935”we can read on his Stolpersteinand this, because he too had “Jewish blood”specifies the Spiegel.

As the weekly reveals, however, his personal file contains the testimony of a “NSDAP Confidant” who defended him by declaring: “We couldn’t have had a better National Socialist in this position. (…) having always acted thinking of his country and his Führer, Adolf Hitler. “

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Third example: Rudolf Holzhausen, stationed in Prague since 1928. On the pavement bearing his name we can read that it was canceled in 1934. The Spiegel he cites, however, a document in which the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Konstantin von Neurath, assured that this diplomat “Worked confidently with the leaders of the German community”. Retired because his wife was a “half Aryan”the interested party would have said “having had very close links with the National Socialist Federation of Sudeten Germans”a region of Czechoslovakia which was annexed by IIIAnd Reich in the fall of 1938.

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