In Rouen and Sotteville-lès-Rouen, cobblestones of memory in front of the last known home of the victims of Nazism

“Here lived Germaine Ganon”, here is what one can read on this “Stolpersteine” sealed in front of 40, rue Armand Carrel in Rouen, the last Rouen home of the family. Two other pavers pay tribute to his daughters Renée, 14, and Lina, 12. All three were arrested, deported and gassed in Auschwitz in the 1940s. Françoise Bottois, honorary history professor knows the history of these families by heart, she has made a book of it. From now on, there is a visible trace of them in front of their last address. A paving stone, covered with brass, sealed in the sidewalk. It is one of the 39 “Stolpersteine” installed in the Metropolis of Rouen. In German, “Stolpersteine”, they are “stones on which one stumbles”. This is exactly the purpose of these pavers, designed by the German artist Gunter Demnig. Draw attention, to bump into the reality of what the Shoah was. 75,000 of these pavers have been laid in the streets of several European cities. There are now 28 in Rouen and 11 in Sotteville-lès-Rouen.

On the cobblestones, memory

Between May 1942 and January 1943, several Jewish or resistance families were arrested in Rouen. The Ettinger family numbered nine people. The parents, Nathan and Hantza and their seven children. All died at Auschwitz. At 8/10, rue eau de Robec, nine paving stones have been laid in their memory. A way to give flesh to this was the Shoah. “The Shoah is 6 million dead but behind this figure, abstract, we know less about individual fates“explains Corinne Bouillot, president of the association” Pavés de Mémoire Métropole Rouen “and Senior Lecturer in Germanic Studies at the German Department of the University of Rouen. Tragic destinies, including the teachers of several schools in the agglomeration seized on to tell the Holocaust to their students. “It allows the youngest to realize that discrimination starts at their doorstep“adds Corinne Bouillot. A memorial and educational work necessary at a time when the last direct witnesses of this era are disappearing. Those who remain, like Denise Holstein, deported at 17 and survivor of the camps, are today too old to continue to testify as they did for a long time in schools.

An inauguration in spring 2021, in the presence of the descendants of the families

The memory of these families, the Cohen, Kavayero, Mizrahi in Sotteville-les-Rouen, the Cofman, Ettinger, Wetsztein, Abramovicth, Frauenthal and Ganon in Rouen, is now anchored in the urban space, so that we do not forget not. The health crisis prevented the artist from coming to pose his “Stolpersteine” himself. The inauguration has also been postponed. In the spring, if all goes well, a tribute ceremony will be organized, in the presence of the students who worked on the subject, and the descendants of the honored families. Les Cohen, Kavayero, Mizrahi in Sotteville-les-Rouen. Les Cofman, Ettinger, Wetsztein, Abramovicth, Frauenthal and Ganon in Rouen.

Nathan and Hantza Ettinger, along with their seven children, were all deported to Auschwitz
Philippe Ettinger

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