Prague's Stolpersteine: new book pays tribute to Prague Nazi victims

A new book, paying tribute to victims of the Nazi regime who have a Stolperstein (stumbling stone) in their memory placed somewhere in Prague, is being launched on Wednesday. Titled Prague's Stolpersteine - Stumbling Stones - Defiant in Their Memory, it is the work of Prague-based Briton Trevor Sage, who has been looking after the city’s stumbling stones for more than six years.  

In 2018, Trevor Sage, a retired Briton living in Prague, set out on a mission to clean the metal stones inlaid in the city’s pavements in honour of Holocaust victims, registering each one of them on an interactive online map. As he went around the city cleaning the brass plaques, he says he became more and more intrigued by the fates of these people:

“You could see the name of the people and their deportation and where they lived, but there was nothing else about them. So I decided to do some research.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International

“I looked on for their victims’ database and Yad Vashem for their Holocaust transport records and I pieced together what histories I could and also found pictures of the individuals.

“So on this map I placed the portrait pictures of the people linked to their transportation details online. I also spoke to relatives of the Stolpersteine installations, and I found even more personal, very touching stories.”

Last year, during the months-long Covid lockdown, Trevor Sage decided it was time to combine all the information he managed to gather into one single publication, as interest in his project grew.

“I decided to compile the book Prague Stolpersteine and here we are today with the book about to be published. It covers all 466 Stolpersteine, it has photographs of 350 individuals, as well as information about their transportation and in many cases, touching stories told me by their loved ones.”

Trevor Sage | Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International

Sage, whose Facebook page dedicated to Prague’s Stolpersteine has more than 3,000 followers, decided to raise funds for the book’s publishing through a crowdfunding campaign. Within just a couple of weeks, he managed to raise over 150 percent of the original target:

“I thought it was absolutely astounding, the response I received. There were donations from all around the world, and people donated the books to schools. And due to the amount I raised I am actually able to have twice as many books produced than I initially thought. So it has been fantastic!”

Mr Sage says his goal for the future is to continue caring for the stones, recording the information, as well as updating the interactive maps. He also hopes his books will help to spread awareness of the Stolpersteine project and the Holocaust:

“With the fundraising, there are 130 books that were donated to schools. I am adding another 100 books to that number, so we have 230 books available for schools and libraries throughout the Czech Republic.

“I am hoping that the books will be used within the schools as a learning aid to teach about the Stolpersteine project and the Holocaust. I also hope that it will give the readers a glimpse into the lives of the victims through the stories that are told within the book.”