The memorial will be placed so that pedestrians have to step around it, and its aim is to stop future generations from thinking of the Holocaust in terms of anonymous, faceless numbers. Until now the markers have been almost exclusively established at Jewish homes, but bin Adam's Stolperstein will serve as a reminder of other minorities who were also murdered under Hitler's regime. The Stolperstein is a project conceived by artist Gunter Demnig. He plans to create a total of 12,000 markers outside houses, giving the name of the person or persons who lived there and the date on which they were taken to a concentration camp.
Bin Adam, who was born in Tanzania, joined the then colonial German East Africa services when he was 10 years old and served with the army. He emigrated to Berlin in 1929, finding work as a waiter in hotels and taking small parts in films. He married a German woman, Maria Schwander, and they had three children - Adam, Annemarie and Bodo. He was arrested in 1941, charged with the crime of 'miscegenation' and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he died in November 1944.
Before WWI Germany had extensive colonies in Africa. After the First World War, France occupied the German Rhineland, deploying colonial African soldiers as the occupying force. The result was hundreds of children born to German women by African soldiers who then became a target for Hitler. In Mein Kampf, he referred to them as 'Rhineland Bastards'. By 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilised, often without anaesthetic. By the outbreak of war most black people had fled. The few who remained were exterminated.
This is a subject I will have to find out more about.
I would like to thank a person from Toronto who just became the 75,000th visitor to the Poor Mouth