Teplice, North Bohemia, Sept 4 (CTK) – Ten new Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) in memory of the Holocaust victims were laid on Monday in the streets of the town of Teplice outside of houses in which the Jewish people had lived.
Israeli Ambassador in Prague Daniel Meron said these paving stones should be a reminder and a warning since even now it is necessary to fight anti-Semitism and racism.
Teplice Mayor Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democrats, ODS) said bad things may happen again unless people keep remembering the tragic fates.
The Stolpersteine tradition was started by German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992. Tens of thousands of blocks with names and dates of birth and death and facts about the people’s deportations to Nazi-operated camps have been placed in pavements all over Europe since then.
Before World War Two, about 5500 Jews lived in Teplice. The parents of now 87-year-old Frantisek Lederer were among them.
“I was born in Teplice. In September 1938 we were forced to move to Prague and then we were deported by train to Lodz in Poland,” Lederer said.
“I am glad that the Teplice Jewish Community tries to remember these events in this way,” Lederer said. His parents, Elly Ledererova and Richard Lederer, died in Lodz, while he survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.
At present, the Jewish community in Teplice and its surroundings has 131 active members. The community’s head, Oldrich Latal, told CTK that the first 14 stepping stones were laid in Teplice in 2008. He said further 20 stones are to be placed in the streets.
“The event attracted high attention of the public. We hear from Jews who had their families in Teplice once,” Latal said.