On March 20, 2010 I was speaking about my quilts
to a group of women who were visiting Clarinda
for the National Minneapolis-Moline Collectors Convention.
In addition to sharing stories about more than thirty other quilts,
I also chose to set up my 96" x 124" quilt named
"Holocaust: A Hate Movement"
in the main area of the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum.
Since men and women were expected at the Museum that day,
I thought its message could reach a large group.
As it turned out, we did have 102 visitors that Saturday.
I shared the messages which are built into the quilt
through blocks, fabrics, text, dimension, texture and quilting.
Seventy blocks, chosen for their names
from The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns compiled by Barbara Brachman,
tell the story of the Holocaust in chronological order.
The Nazi swastika block was drafted from a photograph.
Bright colored prints first released in the 1920's and 1930's
are featured in the beginning of the quilt.
At the time when life became precarious,
only solid-colored fabrics were used.
The chosen colors were black (hate), red (death), orange (fear),
brown (Nazi uniforms), dark blue (U.S., British and French flag color)
and light blue (Israeli flag color).
The four gray border fabrics represent everyday "normal life" (left),
ashes blowing in the wind (top),
ashes in the furnaces (bottom)
and tendrils of hope growing from the ashes (right).
Blocks pieced with their seam allowances
on the surface (instead of inside)
reverse the meaning of the original block name.
For example, the reversed block "Peace and Plenty"
depicts the lack of peace and plenty at that time.
Text such as "Where is God" and "Men to the left, Women to the right"
documents both memories and agonizing concerns.
Overall hand quilting in three-inch intervals
represents the barbed wire fences
surrounding the extermination and work camps.
In 1991 I was inspired by God
to make this quilt after visiting Yad Vashem,
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
near Jerusalem, Israel.
Yad Vashem was founded in 1953 by the State of Israel
to recognize those killed and harmed during the Holocaust
and to acknowledge those who worked to rescue the survivors.
The software programs Electric Quilt and Blockbase
were used to design the quilt layout and print templates
for cutting out the pieces of the blocks.
The names of the 77 quilt blocks
are listed in alphabetical order as follows:
At the Depot
At the Square
A Victory Quilt
Day and Night
Follow the Leader
Hide & Seek
Memory Block (seven - each containing one of the texts below)
..."Men to the left, women to the right"
..."Work will make you free"
..."Break the body, break the spirit, break the heart"
..."Where is God"
..."Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do unto me"
..."I was only following orders"
Next Door Neighbor
Path Thru the Woods
Peace and Plenty (backwards)
Peaceful Hours (backwards)
Road to Paris
Rob Peter to Pay Paul
Salute to Loyalty
Star of David
Trial and Troubles
I am drawn to tell stories about my quilts.
This one has been the most difficult so far.
In addition I have found that remembering history
opens my eyes to the current lack of justice and peace
in so many areas of our world.
Keep your eyes open.
Be courageous and speak up.
You just never know when you might make a difference.
Do you know of a venue which would welcome
a short term display of this eye-opening quilt with a serious message?