SNUBLESTEINER

In the shadow of the recently celebrated Memorial of Holocaust Remembrance and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity, which is marked every January 27th throughout Europe, I have decided to write a short text about the history of the Jews in Norway and the snublesteiners placed in the larger cities of the country.

The Jews in Norway today are one of the smallest religious and ethnic minorities. The first Jewish settlers came here in the Middle Ages, but in the coming centuries they had limited or prohibited movement permits across country. By the middle of the 19th century they were allowed to enter the country freely and soon they became full members of Christiania.

The Oslo Synagogue

The Jewish community slowly grew, counting some two thousand members but that number suddenly fell just before the Second World War. During the German occupation of Norway nearly all Jews fled to Sweden or the United Kingdom, otherwise they were deported to concentration camps. It is estimated that more than 700 Jews were killed in Auschwitz alone.

The last stop in Oslo, before deportation, was the city port where Jews were boarded and then taken to camps.

photo: Georg W. Fossum

Below the Akershus fortress, on a spot where on November 26th in 1942, 532 Norwegian Jews were embarked on a trip with no return, a memorial monument was set up. It’s a work by British artist Antony Gormley. Eight empty chairs without seats, set alone or in pairs, evoke the “absence” of deported Jews. With its void, ie the inability to sit on the chairs, the work represents, on the one hand, the abuse of power and loss of human dignity and life, but on the other hand, the ambience and beauty of the location where it stands offers a place for reflection and contemplation.

Antony Gormley, Monument in memory of deported Norwegian Jews, 2000
Antony Gormley, Monument in memory of deported Norwegian Jews, 2000

Snublesteiner (stolpersteine, germ.) are small memorial blocks made of brass cement (10×10 cm), each with engraved name, date of birth and execution or persecution of the victim. Snublesteiner is a project by German artist Gunter Demnig, that began in 1992. Demnig’s goal was to pay tribute to real victims by marking these small monuments as the place of their last residence. Last year’s data shows that over 56,000 such monuments have been placed in 22 European countries. Four of these monuments were also set up in Rijeka, Croatia in 2013.

Snublesteiner, Rijeka

Execution of each monument is preceded by the artists research of the pre-war Jewish community. During that research an online database of the German Census of 1939 is of great help. The production of the monuments (some hundred euros) are funded by private donations, money from local government or by various means of collection.

Though this kind of commemoration of the victims of the Nazi movement provoked disapproval in the Jewish community, who thinks that walking over the names of dead Jews is not worth their size, the artist himself had another intention. His idea was daily recalling of the shameful chapter in human history, because in reality how many of us actually visits a holocaust museum? But in this way, we all encounter at least one ghost from the past everyday and finaly no-named victims of the Holocaust have their place, a place where they once lived.

http://www.snublestein.no/


SNUBLESTEINER

U sjeni nedavno obilježenog Dana sjećanja na holokaust i spriječavanja zločina protiv čovječnosti koji se obilježava svakog 27. siječnja diljem Europe odlučila sam napisati kratki tekst o povijesti Židova u Norveškoj i memorijalnim blokovima (snublesteiner) koji su postavljeni po većim gradovima zemlje.

Židovi u Norveškoj danas čine jednu od manjih religioznih i etničkih manjina, a prvi židovski doseljenici došli su ovdje još u Srednjem vijeku, no tijekom narednih stoljeća imali su limitiranu ili zabranjenu dozvolu kretanja po zemlji. Tek sredinom 19. stoljeća dozvoljen im je nesmetan ulazak i Židovi su postali punopravni članovi tadašnje Christianije.

Židovska zajednica polako je rasla, brojeći nekih dvije tisuće članova, da bi naglo opala uoči Drugog svjetskog rata. Za vrijeme njemačke okupacije Norveške gotovo svi Židovi su prebjegli u Švedsku ili Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo ili su deportirani u koncentracijske logore. Podaci govore o više od 700 norveških Židova ubijenih samo u Auschwitzu.

Posljednja postaja u Oslu, prije deportacije, bila je gradska luka gdje su Židovi ukrcani na brodove i odvedeni prema logorima.

fotografija: Georg W. Fossum

Ispod tvrđave Akershus, gdje su 26. studenog 1942., 532 norveška Židova ukrcana na put bez povratka na brod Donau, postavljen je memorijalni spomenik, rad britanskog umjetnika Antonya Gormleyja. Osam praznih stolaca bez sjedišta, koji su postavljeni sami ili u paru, evociraju ‘’odsutnost’’ deportiranih Židova. Svojom prazninom, tj. nemogućnosti da se sjedne na stolce, rad predstavlja, s jedne strane zlouporabu moći i gubitak ljudskog dostojanstva i života, no s druge strane, ambijent i ljepota lokacije na koju je postavljen nudi mjesto za refleksiju i kontemplaciju.

Antony Gormley, Monument in memory of deported Norwegian Jews, 2000

Snublesteiner (stolpersteine, njem.) su mali memorijalni blokovi napravljeni od cementa s mjedenom oplatom, veličine 10 x 10 cm, a na svakom su ugravirani imena, datum rođenja i egzekucije ili progonstva žrtve. Snublesteiner je projekt njemačkog umjetnika Gunter Demniga započet još 1992. godine. Demnigov cilj bio je odati počast stvarnim žrtvama tako što je ovim malim spomenicima obilježio mjesto njihovog posljednjeg prebivališta. Posljednji podaci od prije godinu dana govore da je u 22 europske zemlje postavljeno preko 56 000 ovakvih spomenika. Četiri ovakva spomenika postavljena su i u Rijeci 2013. godine.

Rijeka

Pri umjetnikovom istraživanju o predratnoj židovskoj zajednici, koje prethodi izvedbi svakog spomenika, uvelike pomaže internet baza podataka njemačkog popisa stanovništva iz 1939., dok se sama izrada, koja dođe oko stotinjak eura, financira privatnim donacijama, novcem od lokalne uprave ili raznoraznim prikupljanjem sredstava.

Iako je ovakav način komemoracije žrtava nacističkog pokreta izazvao buru negodovanja i to upravo u židovskoj zajednici koja smatra da ukapanje ”imena” poginulih Židova i gaženje po ”njima” nije dostojno njihove veličine, sam umjetnik imao je drugu namjeru. Ideja mu je bila svakodnevno prisjećanje na sramotno poglavlje u ljudskoj povijesti, jer realno gledano koliko nas doista ode u neki muzej posvećen holokaustu? Ovako se svi mi, domaći i strani, veliki i mali svaki dan, na svakom koraku susretnemo barem s jednim duhom iz prošlosti. S druge strane, ovim malim spomenicima, bezimena lica žrtava holokausta dobila su svoje mjesto, mjesto na kojem su nekad živjeli svoje živote.

http://www.snublestein.no/

 

 

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