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2 Feb, 2020 10:24

Cobblestones honoring Nazi victims dug up and THROWN AWAY at construction dump in Germany

Cobblestones honoring Nazi victims dug up and THROWN AWAY at construction dump in Germany

Five bronze cubes in memory of a Jewish family murdered by Nazis were not only uprooted but also thrown away, as telecom workers laid an internet cable in a western German town. The loss was only noticed months later.

Five of the cobblestones (known as Stolpersteine in German) were apparently dug up from outside a house in Plettenberg near Dortmund, where a Jewish family of five – including three kids – had lived until 1942, when they were sent to the notorious Treblinka concentration camp, local media reported on Sunday.

Similar incidents have happened in Germany before, with police confirming a hate motive almost every time. However, the background to this most recent removal appears to be much more mundane.

READ MORE: Holocaust victims’ memorial stones uprooted in Berlin

Last year, a local telecommunications company excavated a nearby pavement to lay an internet cable. Workers apparently dug up the cubes, but instead of reinstalling them in their original location, they brought them to a construction dump, Plettenberg Mayor Ulrich Schulte confirmed, describing the loss as "very annoying."

The firm had been advised "many times" about the remembrance cubes, Plettenberg's building director stated, but "unfortunately [this] didn't work as the stones were disposed of."

"When the damage was noticed, it was already too late," the mayor told reporters. The company in question subsequently looked for the stones but couldn't find them "even after a long search," offering a full refund instead.

Plettenberg, home to 25,000 people, had laid a total of 13 stones in memory of Holocaust victims as part of a decades-long remembrance project run by the Cologne-based artist Gunter Demnig.

Demnig laid the first cobblestone in Cologne back in 1992, exactly 50 years after SS chief Heinrich Himmler directed the deportation of German gypsies to extermination camps. Over time, Demnig's concept – intended to remind passersby of the Third Reich's victims – has grown into one of the world's most renowned memorial projects.

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