"It is not what is written [on the stolpersteine] which intrigues, because the inscription is insufficient to conjure a person. It is the emptiness, void, lack of information, the maw of the forgotten, which gives the monuments their power and lifts them from the banality of a statistic." Joseph Pearson, Cambridge historian
In Xanten there are small 4-inch square concrete blocks covered with brass plates on the sidewalks, typically found in front of homes, apartment complexes, or businesses. If you are not looking for them, you can easily not even see them. What are they?
These stumbling blocks, or Stolperstein, are part of a project created by Gunter Demnig to remember those that were victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Each square represents a person and simply records their name, year they were born, year of death or deportation, and whether they died or were deported. Typically, the top of the stone reads Hier wohnte, meaning “here lived” and they are placed in front of the person’s home. Sometimes there are large groups of these memorials in one spot indicating that a group (perhaps a family) were taken from the same location.
There are more than 30,000 of these stones around Europe. Although some places in Germany have decided against allowing the stones, there are many that allow these memorials to be placed on the sidewalks of their cities. They are paid for by donations (2012 price for a memorial stone is €120).
As you walk along and see a Stolperstein, your thoughts go to that person although you know nothing about them. This is the concept of the project – to stumble in your thoughts as you go along your way, to not forget that those statistics of high numbers of murdered people included actual individuals, people who lived right where you are standing.
Stumble stones in Xanten can be found at Rheinstraße 9, Klever Straße (near the Mitteltor), Marsstraße 65, Marsstraße 30/31, Orkstraße, Scharnstraße 14, Bemmelstraße/Nordwall, Town hall/market place, and Marsstraße 71. Many of these stones represent large families.
During summertime and if weather conditions allow get off the beaten pathes and leave highways and rivers below you.
See when your balloon is filled with air and you would not believe that this fabric, some strings and a "basket" can carry several passengers and the pilot through he skies. Loudlessly - only sometimes you will hear the burner.
The trip takes about 60 - 90 minutes and after landing somewhere you will be picked up.
Prior to that yiou will be "baptised" with fire and champaign according to balloon pilot's custom.
Cost: € 175.00 per person
The best way is to get a brochure at the entrance of the archeological park, which has a map, showing the historical way around. Some of the ancient architectures are tucked in between the nearby streets.