Kreuzberg lays first Stolpersteine for Black victims of Nazi regime

Kreuzberg lays first Stolpersteine for Black victims of Nazi regime

More than 30 years after the first stone of its kind was laid in Cologne, craftsman Gunter Demnig has laid the first Stolpersteine in Berlin to commemorate Black victims of the Nazi genocide.

Kreuzberg lays first Stolperstein for Black victims of the Nazis

There are already more than 100.000 Stolpersteine stones scattered around Germany, but only last week was the first Berlin stone laid to commemorate Black victims of the Nazis’ regime.

In the Kreuzberg neighbourhood of Berlin, craftsman Gunter Demnig laid one of his recognisable 10x10 centimetre, brass-plated cubes to memorialise the Boholle family in front of their last known chosen residence at 134 Alte Jakobstraße. 

Joseph Bohinge Boholle was born in 1880 in Cameroon, a colony of the German Empire from 1884 until 1920, and was brought to Berlin to be part of the city’s first colonial exhibition in 1896. The couple went on to have three children in Germany, Josefa Luise, Rudolf Bohinge and Paul Artur. 

Stones were laid in front of the Alte Jakobstraße house for Joseph and Stefanie, their daughter Josefa, Josefa’s son Peter and partner Cornelis van der Want. After their house was bombed in 1943, Stefanie, Josefa, Cornelis and Peter fled to modern-day Poland, where they were arrested by the Gestapo. The details of her death are unknown, but Stefanie is thought to have died in the Gestapo prison or a concentration camp in Stutthof.

Josefa, Cornelis and Peter as well as her brothers Paul and Rudolf survived the Nazi regime. Josefa survived until 1955, when she died of chronic illnesses related to her imprisonment, during which she was a victim of forced sterilisation.

Many more to be remembered, says ISD

Speaking at the ceremony, the great-grandson of Joseph and Stefanie told attendees that the Stolperstein was a “great honour” for his family. Boholle gave special thanks to historian Robbie Aitken, a historian of the Black experience of Nazi Germany, and Christian Kopp of Berlin’s Postcolonial Association, who initiated the ceremony.

Generally, when a new stone is installed it is often the people who live in the neighbouring building who initiate the project, who may contact Demnig and ask him to lay a stone. The ancestors of the victim or victims are then contacted and asked to give their permission. If they agree, it is often the locals who donate the 120-euro production fee. “Now, the following generations will always have a place to commemorate this story,” Boholle said at the ceremony.

Also present, Simone Dede Ayivi of the Initiative for Black Germans (ISD) stressed the importance of continuing to memorialise forgotten victims of the regime. “In order to properly recount the history of Nazi persecution, every affected group must be considered - and we are still far from finished,” she said.

Thumb image credit: SeeSaw GmbH /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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