After Valley resident Peter Reinstein read a story in Intelligent Life, the lifestyle publication from The Economist,about “stumbling stones,” a project to commemorate Holocaust victims, he became interested in digging a little deeper into his roots. His grandparents, who owned a clothing store in Wiesbaden, Germany, before World War II, were victims of Kristallnacht, the November 1938 pogroms that took place throughout Germany. “The store was destroyed along with all the other Jewish businesses and my father and his father were taken to the concentration camp, Buchenwald,” Reinstein says. In 1942, his grandmother died in Sobibor, a concentration camp in Poland.
The “stumbling stones” project, or Stolpersteine as it is known in German, was initiated by German artist Gunter Demnig in the early 1990s as a way to recognize the victims of Nazi Germany. He creates cobblestone-sized brass plates set into concrete and embeds them into the sidewalk or pavement in front of homes and businesses that were once occupied by Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Each stone is engraved with the name, birthdate, date of deportation and place of death.