The large number of stones laid here in tribute are an indication of Paul Celan's fame. Celan (born Paul Pessach Antschel (or Ancel – an anagram of Celan)) was a Romanian poet who wrote in German.
Celan's parents died in an internment camp during World War II, which deeply affected him throughout his life. He was sent to a work camp in Moldavia and freed by the Russians in 1944, changed his name and began earning his living as a translator in Romania. Moving to France, he became reader and translator of German at the ENS.
In 1970 he threw himself into the Seine.
Two important series of letters – the first to his wife Gisèle de Lestrange, the second to Ingeborg Bachmann – were published in 2001 and 2008 respectively.