Mr. Günter Demnig, an artist from Munich came to Prague again on the 19th of September 2017 in order to place seventeen new Stolpersteine (Stones of the Vanished) at five different addresses where those seventeen Jewish people had been living in Prague before their deportation to concentration camps, in memory of the Porges, Hartmann and Götz families.
Mr. Demnig has been personally placing such stones for different victims of the Nazi regime since 1995, when he started this originally artistic project. It had such a success, however, that he has already placed over 60 thousand of metallic cobblestones in sidewalks of 22 European countries.
The current Prague event was attended by Geert Ates, Director of UNITED for Intercultural Action, as well as the Deputy Mayor of Prague Mr. Petr Dolínek, the Mayor of the eighth district, Mr. Roman Petrus, and the Secretary of the Jewish Community of Prague, Mr. Michal Borges.
Mr. Demnig placed these stones for Olga and Moritz Porges who were murdered by the German Nazis after being deported from Prague to the concentration camp Theresienstadt/Terezín together with their son Felix Porges. He survived only because he organized theatrical life in the ghetto of Terezín. Among other things he wrote and directed the Czech cabaret “Laugh with Us”.
One of the sons of Felix, Zdeněk Prokeš, the Art Director of the famous multimedia theatre Laterna Magika, points to the current significance of the Stumbling Stones: „I had to ripen to a higher age to realize what we owe to the generations of our ancestors. And how useful it is to remind the memory of those vanished who left without the last farewell. “
Read the article in the Czech press here.
Translation of the Czeck article:
Stumbling Stones Remind Vanished People
Gunter Demnig, an artist from Munich, placed new “stumbling stones”, the so-called “stolpersteine”, which are covered with a layer of yellow metal with the engraved names and basic biographical data of their bearers.
This preserves a tiny monument to Jewish families who were deported to concentration camps where they perished, as well as to other victims of Nazism, during the World War II. Stones are also placed for anti-fascist fighters.
Mr. Demnig laid seventeen more “stones of the vanished” in Prague – the Porges, Hartmann and Götz families. He put them, as usually, into the pavement in front of the houses where these people had been living before their deportation. The Bavarian artist began this meritorious activity in 1995 and has laid more than 60,000 stones in 22 European countries since then. Prague pedestrians can record several hundreds of them in the sidewalks.
Olga and Moritz Porges
Near the Florenc metro station, he placed two stones with the names of Olga and Moritz Porges who lived here. According to the message of their grandsons, Zdeněk and Miroslav Prokeš, the couple were deported to the concentration camp Theresienstadt/Terezín. Moritz was 71 years old at that time. Olga’s life ended on 19 October 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Moritz’s one on 21 January 1943 in the Terezín Ghetto. Along with them, their son Felix was deported to Terezin, but he survived the Holocaust – only by organizing theatre life in the ghetto. Among other things, he wrote and directed the cabaret in the Czech language “Laugh with us”. Felix’s son, Miroslav Prokeš, explained that inserting the stumbling “documents the fate of people as individuals who, due to racial hatred, ended up not having their own grave. At the same time, it is also a warning for the present when different groups of people get labeled, ostracized, discriminated against or even genocide is carried out.”
What do we owe to our ancestors?
“I had to grow up to realize what we owe to the generations of our ancestors, and how useful it is to remind the memory of those who disappeared without the last farewell,” said Zdeněk Prokeš, a theater manager, a Czech top choreographer and now the Art Director of the famous Laterna Magika multimedia theatre.
Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek, Mayor of Prague 8 Roman Petrus, Director of UNITED for Intercultural Action Geert Ates, Secretary of the Jewish Community in Prague, Michal Borges, Mecenate of Czech Culture and Art Professor Dadja Altenburg- Kohl and others were present.
Text and foto: Monika Hoření