Stumbling Stones North Rhine-Westphalia - Facts and Figures

The reign of the National Socialists claimed millions of lives. An overview in the form of data, facts, and numbers of the situation in North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany.

Zusatzinformationen in der WDR-App "Stolpersteine NRW - gegen das Vergessen"Original Source: WDR / Claus Langer

Making data on war and terror visible

How many Jewish people were living in Germany in 1933? How many people were deported to a concentration camp by the Nazi regime because of their sexuality? The project "Stolpersteine NRW – For Remembering" from Westdeutscher Rundfunk answers these questions with visualized data.

In the summer of 2021, Westdeutscher Rundfunk asked around 250 municipalities in NRW for numbers and data on Nazi victims. The result: Decades after the end of the Second World War, many municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia have no figures regarding Nazi victims. More than a third of the municipalities state that they have no data for victim groups other than Jews.

Common cause with "Katapult"

The project "Stolpersteine NRW - Gegen das Vergessen" (Stumbling Stones NRW - Remembering) then set itself the goal of researching further data, facts and figures on the basis of historical sources. The visualisation of this data is realised in cooperation with "Katapult". The popular science magazine, founded in 2015, presents research from the social sciences and uses only infographics and maps to illustrate a wide range of data.

Through the cooperation with "Katapult", numerous visualizations on Nazi themes such as persecution, flight, deportation, and extermination are created. The numbers and dates are linked to the stories of individual Stolpersteine and placed in a regional or local context. Some of the graphics are based on estimated values, as not enough information is available.

Hinweis zur Nutzung von QuellenOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

1933 – Life’s changing

In 1933, around 500,000 Jewish people live in Germany. When Adolf Hitler comes to power on 30 January 1933, life in Germany changes for them. Hitler uses his power to shape the country too his thinking in the following years.

Grafik zu den Rechten von Jüdinnen und Juden 1933Original Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Grafik zu den Einschränkungen für jüdische Kinder ab 1933Original Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Exclusion and persecution

Racism and antisemitism are the core of the National Socialist ideology. Many Jews and opponents of the regime leave the country – or they are deported to concentration camps. However, they are not the only victims of Nazi terror.

Verfolgt und getötet aufgrund der HerkunftOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Völkermord an Sinti:zze und Rom:njaOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Queere Menschen im NationalsozialismusOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Auschwitz – Center of the Nazi mass extermination

The Auschwitz concentration camp is regarded as a symbol of the Holocaust worldwide. The National Socialists murder more than one million prisoners in the largest German extermination camp between 1940 and 1945. Most of them are Jews.

Vernichtungslager Auschwitz-BirkenauOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Vernichtungslager Auschwitz-BirkenauWestern Broadcasting Corporation (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Täter:innen von AuschwitzWestern Broadcasting Corporation (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Stolpersteine – A form of remembrance

With the Stolpersteine, artist Gunter Demnig tells the stories of people who were victims of Nazi terror. They are found in front of the last known residence of the people. There are around 15,000 of these stones in North Rhine-Westphalia – they can be accessed digitally via the app and the website "Stolpersteine NRW". Some stones do not have a name on them. There are reasons for this.

Stolpersteine ohne NamenOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

 Knowledge gaps about the Nazi era

Stumbling stones are one way of remembering. Memorials, initiatives, and museums also provide information about the Nazi terror regime. Still, surveys repeatedly show that some Germans don’t know not that much about the time between 1933 and 1945.

Erinnerungskultur: Besuch von GedenkstättenOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

Erinnerungskultur: Geschichte des Wohnorts während der NS-ZeitOriginal Source: WDR / Katapult Verlag

More information on the project " Stolpersteine NRW – For Remembering" on

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