Scars of the Gestapo: Remembrance and Privacy Concerns

51 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2023 Last revised: 8 Feb 2024

See all articles by Sebastian Bauer

Sebastian Bauer

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Florencia Hnilo

Stanford University

Date Written: February 7, 2024


We study how remembrance of an authoritarian regime affects privacy concerns, leveraging Germany's strong culture of Holocaust remembrance. One example of this culture of remembrance are the Stolpersteine, plaques on the sidewalk signaling that a victim of Nazi persecution lived at a given address. We use a detailed street level imagery dataset of Berlin to study how Stolpersteine affect a novel geolocated measure of privacy concerns: whether a person asks for their building to be blurred on an online street-level imagery provider. To isolate causality, we leverage the quasi-experimental variation in Stolpersteine location once we control for the victims' location patterns around each address. We show that Stolpersteine cause a localized increase in blurring, as most of their effect on blurring concentrates within 10 meters of a Stolperstein. Furthermore, we show through an experimental survey that when Germans are primed to think about the Stolpersteine and Nazi persecution, they respond by spending more time on the experiment's final consent form, which constitutes another novel measure of privacy concerns.

Keywords: privacy concerns, Stolpersteine, culture of remembrance, Germany

JEL Classification: N44, N94, R23

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Sebastian and Hnilo, Florencia, Scars of the Gestapo: Remembrance and Privacy Concerns (February 7, 2024). Available at SSRN: or

Sebastian Bauer

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States


Florencia Hnilo (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
STANFORD, CA 94305-6072
United States

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