Stumble Stones

Stumble Stones

Stumble Stone with rose in Dachau, Photo: City of Dachau
Stumble Stones in Dachau, Photo: City of Dachau

Fifteen of sculptor Gunter Demning’s stolpersteine or stumble stones have been set in the pavements of Dachau since November 2005.

The Stumbling Stones are small commemorative plaques made of brass, which the artist places in the sidewalk in memory of the persecuted and murdered victims of the Nazi era before their last self-chosen place of residence. All people who suffered under the National Socialist regime are remembered: Jews, Sinti and Roma, politically persecuted, religiously persecuted, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally and/or physically disabled people, forced laborers, and dessert workers.

Artist, Gunter Demnig: "To be able to read the stone, one must bow to the victim"

Bleisteiner, Thomas

Stumbling stone in memory of Thomas Bleisteiner
Stumbling stone in memory of Thomas Bleisteiner, Photo: City of Dachau

Thomas Bleisteiner was born out of wedlock on September 22, 1908. After his mother married, he was rejected and mistreated by his stepfather.

He was forced to contribute to the family’s income from a young age. Due to the economic situation in the 1920’s and his mental instability, Thomas often changed jobs. He was arrested in March 1933 and was detained in prison. In June of that year, he was sent to Dachau concentration camp, where he stayed until December 1933. In 1936, he was accused of theft on several different occasions and lost his job, which resulted in him having to live in a workhouse. As a result of the “Arbeitsscheu Reich” (work-shy Reich) action, Thomas Bleisteiner was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1938 and from there was deported to Mauthausen in 1940. Due to the inhuman working conditions in the stone quarry at Mauthausen he passed away on April 16, 1940, just a few weeks after his arrival there.

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Dölfel, Alwine

Eisenmann, Johann

Artist Gunter Demnig laying a stumbling stone in Dachau
Artist Gunter Demnig laying a stumbling stone in Dachau, Photo: City of Dachau

Johann Eisenmann was born on August 22, 1909 to Martin Eisenmann, a carpenter, and his wife Maria. He never married and worked as a laborer. He was a member of the Dachau Communist Group and was taken into preventative custody during a large-scale arrest operation on March 22, 1933. According to his prison record he suffered from the flu and blood poisoning. He died in Munich Stadelheim Prison on April 3, 1933 in unexplained circumstances.

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Felber, Anton

Anton Felber, born on May 7, 1902, had to cope with the death of his father when he was just nine years old and it was a great loss for him.

He lived with his mother and sister in extreme poverty. As a young boy he was often in trouble with the police. He was admitted to Rothenfeld Reformatory, from where he tried to escape twice.

During several stays in prison, after being convicted for theft and begging, he learnt how to make baskets. After another period of detention in 1937, he was taken “into preventative police custody…as a professional criminal” in December 1938 and then moved to Dachau concentration camp. In February 1939, he was transferred to Flossenbürg concentration camp.

He only managed to withstand the inhumane working conditions in the stone quarry there for eight months and sadly died on October 20, 1939.

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Kohn, Julius

Julius Kohn, an accountant, was born on February 2, 1886 in Rosenheim and moved to Dachau in March 1927.

He lived as a lodger in the cellar of the Neumeyer’s family home at 10 Hindenburgstraße and became close friends with the family, who gave him the nickname Onki. Julius Kohn temporarily worked in the Dachau Town Hall. He probably lost his job there because of his Jewish origins. Further details about this are not known.

Many plays were staged in the Neumeyer’s home and during one of these theatre evenings in January 1938 the house was stormed by SS soldiers and the people present were attacked. Julius Kohn was imprisoned for two weeks. Following the events of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), he did not know where to go as he was forced to leave Dachau.

From November 11, to December 6, he was held at Dachau concentration camp. He converted to the Catholic faith. Afterwards, he lived in several different places in Munich. On March 13, 1943, he was forced into a cattle wagon at Munich freight station and deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. The journey lasted several days.

Julius Kohn’s exact date of death is not known but because of his age he was probably killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz upon his arrival.

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Linner, Maria

House near old cemetery in Dachau
Last self-chosen place of residence of Maria Linner, Photo: City of Dachau

Maria Linner was born out of wedlock on February 22, 1899 in Dachau and lived with her family on Herbststraße.

At the age of 13, she injured her foot and as a result of an infection she developed a suppuration in both ears and became hard of hearing. After finishing school, she was sent to Hohenwart School for the Deaf-Mute. There she was trained as a seamstress and during the First World War she temporarily worked in her sister’s household. In 1918, she worked in a gunpowder and munitions factory and was later employed as a maid. Unfortunately, during this time her hearing worsened, and she subsequently become deaf. In December 1934, she was living in Bürgerspital, an institution in Dachau that housed people in need of support.

She developed anxiety and often complained about imagined thefts and alleged embezzlement. In 1935, she was admitted to several different psychiatric institutions due to her “paranoia”. Doctors determined that her “delusions of persecution” should not be classified as pathological. She hoped that she would be released, but unfortunately this never happened. On November 7, 1940, she was taken to Linz and from there to Hartheim Castle killing center. As part of the National Socialist’s “Euthanasia” program she was suffocated in the center’s gas chambers either on November 7, 1940 or a few days later.

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Dr. Gilde, Samuel

Born on January 8, 1874 in Kaunas/Lithuania, Dr. Samuel Gilde was forced to give up his thriving medical practice in Munich due to a law passed by the National Socialists that banned Jewish doctors from practicing medicine.

From November 1, 1938 he was registered as a lodger in the home of the Jewish writer Hermann Gottschalk in the Augustenfeld district of Dachau. He had already fled Dachau on November 10, 1938 after the events of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass). He was arrested and sent to Dachau concentration camp just two days later, on November 12.

He was released from Dachau at the start of December 1938 and unsuccessfully tried to emigrate to the USA. Towards the end of his life, the formerly successful dermatologist and urologist had a sleeping spot in the transit camp in Berg am Laim, Munich. In 1942, at the age of 68, he was sent to Lohof forced labor camp and was then deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto and was murdered there on June 30, 1944.

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Jaffe, Alice

Alice Jaffé, née Portner, was born on April 30, 1875 to a Jewish family of bankers originally from Warsaw. After the death of her husband, a timber merchant from Berlin in 1932, she moved to Dachau to live with her daughter Johanna, who at this time worked as a personal secretary for the Petersen’s, a couple of artists, in the Große Moosschwaige artist’s workshop in Augustenfeld.

In 1937, Alice Jaffé moved to Munich. During the events of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) she was registered at Kaulbachstraße 33. The 67-year-old was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp and ghetto on July 17, 1942.

Her name appears on a transport list for Auschwitz concentration camp from May 1944 and she was murdered in the gas chambers there on July 11 or 12, 1944.

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Neumeyer, Hans

Hans Neumeyer was born on September 13, 1887 in Munich. His Jewish parents ran a clothing shop on Sendlinger Straße. At the age of 14 he went completely blind. After studying music, he went on to co-found a music school.

He also worked as a lecturer in Acoustics and Improvisation in Dresden Hellerau. While there, he got to know Vera Ephraim. After the two married in July 1920, they moved to Dachau. They went on to have two children, Ruth, who was born in 1923, and Raimund, who was born in 1924.

From 1933 he was subject to the National Socialist’s occupational ban and was no longer allowed to teach. Hans Neumeyer experienced the events of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) on November 8 and 9, 1938 in Berlin, where he was learning to be a flute maker.

After the family was forced to leave Dachau, they moved to Munich. They then went on to move homes multiple times. On May 11, 1939, the couple’s children arrived in England in a Kindertransport (a rescue effort that brought refugee Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Great Britain from 1938-1940).

Hans Neumeyer’s name appears on a transport list for the Theresienstadt ghetto from June 4, 1942. Once there he continued to teach music but caught tuberculosis and became ill at the end of 1943.

Hans Neumeyer died on May 19, 1944 as a result of his illness.

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Neumeyer, Vera

Vera Neumeyer was born on September 3, 1893 to Martin and Hildegard Ephraim and was the youngest of their four children.

The family lived in Görlitz and were well-off merchants. Like her mother, Vera was baptized in the Evangelical church.

Vera studied rhythmic gymnastics in Dresden Hellerau and whilst there got to know Hans Neumeyer who was working as a lecturer at the time. The two married and moved to Dachau where they lived on what used to be Hindenburgstraße. Vera gave dance and gymnastics lessons to the women of the Dachau Artist’s Society. She gave birth to her daughter Ruth in 1923 and then had her son Raimund a year later. Having just returned from a holiday at her sister’s in Italy, on the night of November 8/9, 1938 she was told by SA soldiers to leave Dachau by sunrise.

She headed to Munich with her family, where they stayed with one of her husband’s former students. After this the family moved homes several times and she managed to earn a living by giving language lessons. Afterwards, she was forced into work in a garden center. Until the start of the war she was able to send letters to her children, who had been sent to England on a Kindertransport (a rescue effort that brought refugee Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Great Britain from 1938-1940).

She also tried to emigrate to England but was unfortunately unsuccessful. On July 14, 1942 she wrote to her family and told them that she was travelling east on a train. It is likely that she was deported to Auschwitz or Warsaw ghetto and murdered there.

We unfortunately do not know her exact date of death.

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Pflügler, Johann

Johann Pflügler was born on September 30, 1909 in Niederroth. From 1912, he lived with his parents and five siblings on a small agricultural holding on Schleißheimer Straße. His father had to work in the Schuster cardboard factory to earn extra income to support the family. Johann wanted to become a shoemaker.

The family could not afford the premium for an apprenticeship for him so instead he learnt how to become a molder at Kraus-Maffei in Allach. He later went on to work as a foreman for this company. In the economically challenging 1920’s he was temporarily unemployed. He participated in political rallies and sympathized with the communist movement. Hans, as he was known, was married and had four children, the last of which was born a month after he was murdered. He was arrested in April 1933 during the wave of arrests of political dissidents and was detained for eight weeks at Dachau Prison because of his contact with communists. His job in an important arms factory spared Hans Pflügler the military service.

On April 28, 1945 he, along with other residents of Dachau, answered the call of the Freiheitsaktion Bayern (“Action for the Freedom of Bavaria”) and the group occupied the town hall in order to prevent the defense of the town. The rebellion was thwarted and Johann Pflügler was shot dead by the SS on April 28, 1945.

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Vettermann, Albert

Albert Vettermann, born out of wedlock on December 19, 1900, lived with his grandmother until the age of nine when he was finally recognized by his biological father as his legitimate child.

After finishing school, he started a business apprenticeship. His father served as a sergeant in the First World War in 1915 and Albert had to stop his studies and help his stepmother with the family business. In 1918 he joined the war effort and fought in France for two months.

Upon his return, he first worked in his parent’s business and then worked in a margarine factory in Chemnitz until 1927. After a long period of unemployment, in 1937 he was employed to help with the construction of the Reichsautobahn (the German highway system) and moved to Wiedenzhausen.

In October 1937 he was arrested there for seducing a minor (§175) and sentenced to one year and nine months in prison. His sentence was later extended to two years and three months. In March 1940, he found work with Schuster, a company based in Dachau. Shortly afterwards he was placed under observation at the instruction of the Criminal Police Headquarters in Munich. In November 1940 he was sent to Dachau concentration camp as a “police preventative custody detainee” to “prevent him from committing any new criminal offences”.

In 1941, Albert Vettermann was transferred to Ravensbrück concentration camp. On March 25, 1942, he was deemed to be no longer fit for work and was murdered at the Bernburg/Saale killing center.

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Wallach, Max

Max Wallach, born on October 9, 1875, arrived in Dachau in 1920. At the request of his family, after a long stay abroad he took over the management of their newly opened weaving mill and textile printing factory in Dachau which supplied the Volkskunsthaus Wallach in Munich. He married Melitta Holländer and the couple welcomed their son Franz in 1924. On August 1, 1938, the National Socialists forced the Wallach family to sell their business in Munich and the factory in Dachau at a price far below what they were actually worth. During Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) in November 1938, Max Wallach, as a Jewish resident of Dachau, was forced to leave the town before sunrise by SA soldiers. After moving around a lot, he lived in Paderborn with his wife Melitta from 1939. From there he was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in July 1942. His name appears on the transport list for Auschwitz concentration camp from October 28, 1944. It is certain that the 69-year-old was immediately murdered in the gas chambers upon his arrival on October 30, 1944 due to his advanced age.

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Wallach, Melitta

Melitta Wallach, née Holländer, was born on January 8, 1894 in Darmstadt to the Jewish doctor Julius Holländer and his wife Emilie. She started working at the Volkskunsthaus Wallach in Munich at the start of the 1920’s. Here she got to know Max Wallach, they got married and then moved to Dachau in 1923. In 1924, their son Franz was born. Like her husband, she was told to leave Dachau in the night of November 8/9, 1938.

After moving around a lot, she moved to Paderborn with her family and lived there with her mother. A month before the start of the war – in August 1939 – her son Franz managed to reach England with a Kindertransport (a rescue effort that brought refugee Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Great Britain from 1938-1940). Both Melitta and her husband hoped to get a visa for the USA where a large part of the Wallach family was already living but in July 1942 Melitta and Max were deported to Theresienstadt ghetto. Their names appear on a transport list from October 28, 1944. It is certain that they were both murdered upon their arrival at Auschwitz concentration camp on October 30, 1944 because of their advanced age.

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Wildmoser, Therese

Born on March 27, 1910, Therese Wildmoser was the illegitimate daughter of a maid and lived in poverty.

A slow learner, she was sent to an institution for people with intellectual difficulties when she was seven years old. According to reports she learnt to read and write and helped with simple household tasks. She suffered from occasional seizures and was admitted to Taufkirchen an der Vils Mental Hospital because of this. In 1929, her stepfather took her back to Dachau.

Therese lived with her nine stepsiblings on Karlsberg Street, later in Benediktenwandstraße. On November 1, 1938 she was readmitted to the Taufkirchen Catholic Mental Hospital and was then moved to Eglfing-Haar, a state-run Mental Hospital, in October 1940. As part of “Aktion T 4”, doctors singled out any patients classed as being unfit for work and they were transported to killing centers.

Therese Wildmoser was deported to Hartheim Castle near Linz on February 25, 1941 and was murdered in the gas chambers there upon her arrival.

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