6 lit candles in a dark room

Yom HaShoah Service, followed by guest speaker Ruth Mandel

All are welcome to join us for our Yom HaShoah service at 6:30 p.m., immediately followed by a presentation from guest speaker and anthropologist Ruth Mandel, who will share her research on the “Stumbling Stones” memorials, one of the world’s largest grassroots, decentralized memorials for victims of the Holocaust.

Please note: this service is in-person only; no online or Zoom option is available.

Stumbling Stones and Invented Rituals: A Holocaust Counter-memorial

Over 25 years ago, German artist Gunter Demnig installed a small brass plaque in a Berlin sidewalk in front of the former home of a Jewish Nazi victim.  Demnig thought that would be the end of it.  Instead, people noticed, and slowly he began creating and embossing additional ones for descendants of other victims, who wanted to memorialise their own relatives. Demnig called them Stolpersteine, stumbling stones.  He says he wants people to stumble ‘with their hearts and minds.’ Today there are over 100,000 stumbling stones in 30 countries, perhaps the world’s largest grassroots decentralized memorial.  Anthropologist Ruth Mandel has been carrying out research on this project for the past 8 years, and has travelled throughout Europe with the artist. She will talk about the meanings and controversies surrounding these small memorials.

About Ruth Mandel

Professor Ruth Mandel, Ph.D.

Ruth Mandel is Professor of Anthropology at University College London.  She hails from Chicago, spent her undergraduate years at Macalester College, after which she studied at the University of Chicago for her PhD.  She has been based in London for three decades, though for about 10 years of this time she has lived in Berlin, Kazakhstan, Paris and Washington, D.C., where, 20 years ago, was a member of Micah for two years.

She has carried out extensive research on international migration between Turkey, Greece and Germany, producing a prize-winning book resulting from this work, Cosmopolitan Anxieties: Turkish challenges to citizenship and belonging in Germany.

She currently is a Sosland Foundation Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  Last year she was a Visiting Professor at Harvard, in the Anthropology Department and the Center for Jewish Studies.  Previously, she has taught as a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, and the University of Vienna.

Her current research (with collaborator Rachel Lehr) addresses the politics of commemoration, Holocaust memory and monuments in Europe, focusing on artist Gunter Demnig’s Stolperstein – stumbling stone – project.

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