On the twenty-first of November, members of the Host Country Community Service Club (HCCSC) of Stuttgart High School traveled to downtown Stuttgart in order to clean the Stolpersteines located around the area. The HCCSC is a club that is dedicated to contributing to and connect with our Host Country. This goal was met by funding and cleaning Stolpersteines, an art project that “commemorates the victims of national socialism” and keeps the memories of these people alive.
The Stolpersteine are brass plaques located in the pavement in front of the victims last chosen address. The plaque details the name of the victim, stating HERE LIVED, or “HIER WOHNTE”, then the name, year of birth, date of deportation, internment camp, and the date of their murder. The HCCSC has sponsored six stones over the years, and continues to tend to their upkeep. The purpose of this project is to honor and respect the victims of a tragic devastation that happened in the country in which we currently live and to bring awareness to the Stolpersteine project.
Luise Lepman was a German citizen, born in Höchstädter on July 28, 1878. She was Luise Kahn before marrying Markus Landauer who died 9 years later of a serious illness in 1911. Luise Landauer then had her second marriage in 1920 to Leopold Monroe Lepman. They lived together for six years until Luise became a widow a second time when Leopold died; she moved to Gerokstraße 70 around 1931. Being a Jewish citizen, she faced discrimination and humiliation. In 1938, Luise moved in with her sister and brother-in-law, who left Germany for America in 1939. From there Luise lived with her brother Paul Kahn in a Jewish Ghetto, although, the two had plans to leave for America before they were deported on April 26, 1942. It is unknown where and when Luise was murdered, but with the Stolpersteine, the community will remember her.
The Khan Family, comprised of Bertha and her three children, lived in Baisingen before moving to Stuttgart in the 1930s, after the father, Sigmund Kahn, died in 1928. Bertha’s three children, Senta, Heinz, and Hans Max managed to escape Germany when the persecution of the Jewish intensified. They fled to the U.S., South Africa, and Bolivia respectively; Senta moved after she had married Walter Schwarz. Bertha was unable to leave Germany, and waited as her daughter tried to get her a visa to the U.S., however, Bertha was forced to leave her apartment in 1938, and moved to a cramped Jew’s Ghetto. In 1941, Bertha took the deportation train to Riga, an area then overflowing with other holocaust victims being relocated and deported. Bertha Khan was murdered at the age of 52, along with hundreds of other holocaust victims. She was shot and killed in the forest of Bikerniki.
The effect this project has had on us is immensely positive and beneficial. We are so grateful that we have the opportunity to show respect and pay tribute to those who have passed. Being able to travel to areas or attend ceremonies involving the stones is such a unique and humbling experience. The Stolpersteine Project has not only brought us together as a group, but it has grounded us in our own community. We have learned so many new things, from the history of WWII to the stories of individual victims. We could not be more grateful for the project, both as a memorial and as an art. The HCCSC will continue our efforts to sponsor, maintain, and promote the awareness of the Stolpersteine Project.