They are called Stolperstein and I had never heard of them. Granted I never have been to any of the 18 European countries which you can find one of nearly 50,000 stolperstein, but still. I feel like I should know about one of the largest memorials in the world. Fourtantly, I am friends with Rev. Nancy Allen who is much more learned and traveled that I am so she hipped me to the stolperstein.
These are stones that are laid in the ground with names of people who were killed in the Holocaust. What I have come to understand as well is the stolperstein are not markers like a gravestone, but in fact tributes to those who were a 'stumbling block' (which is what stolperstein means in German) to the Nazi cause.
What is additionally interesting to me is the art of redemption that you find in the medium of the stumbling block.
In the Christian tradition, there are a handful of verses in the Bible about stumbling blocks. All of them cast a shadow over the stumbling block. Warnings to not be a stumbling block and even condemning those who are stumbling blocks to others. In my religious tradition, stumbling blocks are not associated with anything redemptive.
That is what makes the stolperstein so interesting. The stolperstein exposes the redemptive quality of the demonized stumbling block. The stolperstein invite/challenge us to all @@be a stumbling block to hate and trip up evil.@@ To be a barrier to destruction.
It is not easy to be a stumbling block, which is why it is worth remember those who were.
Finding the redemptive quality of the stumbling block is much like what God does in this world. God is the force that is able to find the redemptive quality in all things. Even those things we think are beyond redemption. It is the creativity of the force of God that continues to draw me into a deeper relationship with Christ. It was Christ who looked at the cross, the symbol for the ultimate power of the state, and found the way to redeem even that horrible symbol. Now the cross stands as a sign of hope and resurrection.
The Christian life is one that calls us to find the redeemable in even the darkest of places. I am thankful for those who show me that even the stumbling block is redemptive.