stumbling block

Cai Xia recommends Qian Gang’s article “My 135 Stumbling Stones”, which is a good article not to be missed.

Qian Gang went to Germany for a study visit and saw two bronze plaques in front of his residence, which are called “Stumbling Stones” in Germany. The “Stumbling Stones” were initiated by a German artist and donated by citizens, and each bronze plaque records a Jew who was persecuted to death during World War II. There are now 60,000 bronze plaques in 1,100 towns in 20 European countries, with more than 7,000 in Berlin alone.

Berlin has a Stumbling Stones website, which records every bronze plaque and has a dedicated page for every street.

The number of “stumbling blocks” is only a small fraction of the actual number of victims. Each victim’s place of origin, personal data, and the process of victimization are like a sea of smoke, and it is almost impossible to trace them all in a time of turmoil, war and change.

In that 1 km long street where Qian Gang lives, there are only 69 door signs, but there are 134 stumbling blocks, concentrated in front of 18 doors, the most is No. 35, there are 21 blocks. The oldest was an 81-year-old music teacher and the youngest was a 4-year-old child. They were sent to 11 concentration camps in Poland, Lithuania and Germany.

Qian Gang found the train station where the Jews were transported, an abandoned platform 17. On the opposite side of the platform there is a wall with some abstract and blurred figures of the victims. The floor is made of rectangular cast-iron plates, each with a long path, on which is cast the text of the number of Jews who boarded the train from this platform and were sent to a certain concentration camp on a certain day of the year.

When I walked along the cast iron plates, it was as if the souls of the Jews who suffered were under my feet.

I am so impressed with the Germans. I only knew that the Germans had reflected deeply on World War II, but I didn’t know that they could do so to such an extent.

It was the Germans, the main body of Germans, who persecuted the minority of Jews back then. The majority Germans drove a minority to extinction with genocidal cruelty, and then after defeat, they were ashamed of their bloody history and tortured their souls daily.

What is the reason why a people who dare to face up to their sins must also dare to face up to their mistakes, and what is the reason why such a people will not succeed?