[edited for accuracy]
I understand the objection to people stepping on it, but at the same time, where else would you place something to have the same effect? These memorials are so effective exactly because it's a highly unconventional location for them. I've walked past hundreds of Holocaust memorials in my life and none have had the same effect on me as seeing one of these stones with a candle next to it in front of my house on the day of the "Night of Broken Glass"
During he Holocaust, thousands of Czech scrolls taken from scattered synagogues, to a main synagogue in Prague. An old rumour, though now thought to be inaccurate, was that Hitler wanted to document the culture of the race he eliminated.
Many of these scrolls have deterioated, some have been restored, and they are now distributed on-loan to many Jewish communities around the world, not just as working Torah’s but as part of the living story of persecution and perseverance.
But after a collection of Jewish artefacts and treasures was started (which includes things like silver scroll crowns and plates and Yad pointers), the nazis themselves became interested in gathering the relics hoping to extract precious metals. So much of the silver is gone today, but amazingly the collection of scrolls themselves remained relatively intact.
My synagogue has one of the scrolls, very badly damaged, which the rabbi showed us this morning. There is something very powerful about seeing and feeling a religious artifact hundreds of years old, originally from a Czech Jewish community now destroyed and practically forgotten. Yet this Torah lives on a living and breathing Jewish community today, where some of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah students actually read from it.
The only explanation is that there is still some anti-Jewish sentiment and somehow it's present also among the HN folks, hopefully in a fraction of a promille.
Needless to say, since the outbreak of Russia sponsored fake news and propaganda, the Czech society is increasingly divided, with racism and xenophobia on the raise.
The blog post above explains that the Jewish year 5676 on one of the stones is ~1915 AD.
Thessaloniki was once the city with the largest Jewish population in Europe, and the one with the largest Jewish cemetary (300,000 - 500,000 tombs) in the world .
During the Nazi occupation, after the Nazis abducted the members of the community and sent them to Auschwitz (with the collusion of the puppet authorities and the Greek Orthodox church), the people of the city took the tombstones from the cemetary and used them in their houses. They were also used to line the cobbled streets of the city, but I couldn't find any pictures online showing this clearly. Worse, it seems like the city's Aristoteleion university was built on top of the cemetary grounds .
The story of the Jewish community's treatment by the Greek citizens of Thessaloniki during the occupation fills me with shame, as a Greek woman. I prefer to remember the actions of the Archbishop of Zakynthos, Chrystostome: asked by the Nazis, in 1943, to provide a list with the names of all the Jewish Zakynthians, the archbishop delivered a list with only two names: his own and that of the mayor of the city. The two men had previously worked together to help the Jewish inhabitants to escape, by providing them with forged papers, etc [2,3].
From the English version:
Of course the city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) has a long tradition in desecrating Jewish tombs – one needs only to visit many of its churches and public squares which are paved with looted tombstones by the old Jewish Cemetery. That particular cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in the world with an area over 350 acres and tombs from the 2nd century CE, was destroyed by the Municipality of Salonica in 1942 while his Jewish citizens were rounded in the Baron Hirsch Ghetto before being sent to Auschwitz to be murdered there. Or one can dig inside the campus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki to find the bones of 300/500.000 Jews who are still buried there in the grounds the University desecrated to build its buildings.
 http://www.kathimerini.gr/832170/article/politismos/vivlio/t... (Greek)
It's funny how stories like this are cause for some to be upset at being reminded of the Holocaust. Yet the headstones are walked on daily. They Jews are certainly reminded every day.
Same thing with tombstones which are recycled all the time. All larger cemeteries have huge stacks of stones waiting to get crushed into gravel. I cannot say if the practice in Communist countries specifically targeted Jewish cemeteries and if it was therefore antisemitic. Now whether the antisemitic part is not scrubbing the stones clean from inscriptions. Perhaps a large number of Jewish cemeteries were derelict due to the dwindling number of communities and it was easier to take stones from these?
This isn't true for anyone I know of.
Those that can afford it have effectively permanent plots (until the descendents die off, at least).
Those that can't, or choose not to, opt for cremation.