Sampietrini is a typical type of pavement used in the streets of Rome. Yet, there is nothing typical about these small golden plates seen throughout the Eternal City. They are symbols commemorating the Roman Jews deported and murdered during World War II.
These are the work of German artist Gunter Demnig, called Stolperstein or "stumbling blocks.” They are small, cobblestone-sized memorials, placed for individual victims during a Nazi-occupied Rome. As passerby's walk down these streets they are reminded of the victims that once lived in that neighborhood.
This was the case for Arrigo Tedeschi, an engineer from the town of Ferrara, who once lived in Rome. On October 16, 1943, he was moved to the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. His daughter-in-law now wants to keep his memory alive for future generations.
"I think if you do not keep record of any memory, even such a terrible moment in life, everything is lost, so it seems appropriate to do so.”
Children from three schools were there to learn a valuable lesson: not to repeat history's mistakes. To strengthen ties with the Jewish community, Pope Francis is set to visit Rome's synagogue on Sunday, as other Popes have done before him.
"We were invited to the visit of Pope John Paul II when he came to the synagogue and it was such a moment full of joy and happiness...I'm glad he is going to go, I think that relations will be intensified. Provided that the friendship can be improved to reach a better place”.
Demnig's memorial pavers have not only come to Rome. Twenty other countries have these floor plates fixed forever in memory of these victims.
IPC / YA