This article was first published in JWeekly.
Two mothers were talking at a Brandeis Hillel Day School event last winter in San Francisco when they stumbled upon a coincidence: Both of their families were planning to visit Europe at roughly the same time for the same special reason.
Those trips occurred this spring — one to Germany and one to Austria.
Both families attended dedication ceremonies for the laying of stolpersteine (German for “stumbling stones”) in front of the homes of their ancestors before the Holocaust.
Stolpersteine are brass plaques with biographical information that are placed in the sidewalk in front of the last address of Nazi victims. The plaques can be found in more than 600 places in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Norway and Ukraine.
The project is supported by local communities in Europe that view it as a small way to memorialize their Jewish former neighbors.
Both San Francisco families had unique stories leading up to the visit.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.