On Friday, 24 January 2020, Gillian Vogelsang wrote:
A few days ago the TRC was honoured by the donation of three Mennonite relief quilts. The gift was organised by Lynn Kaplanian-Buller (Amsterdam) of the International Menno Simons Center.
Since 1927 the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has been involved in bringing together North American Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in order to provide relief services.
Their mission statement is based on the Biblical call to care for the hungry and the thirsty, the stranger and the naked, the sick and those in prison (Matthew 25:35-36). Since that year, Mennonites throughout the world regularly come together to make a range of items, including quilts, for relief purposes.
Two of the quilts given to the TRC were originally sent from the USA to The Netherlands at the end of the Second World War (1939-1945). One of them (TRC 2020.0193) is a relief quilt produced by the Menonnite Community in the USA and sent to Irnsum, Friesland (The Netherlands) just after the Second World War (1939-1945). The other quilt was sent to Zeist, The Netherlands, to help Russian refugees (TRC 2020.0192). It was given by An Keuning to Betty Hoekema in 2008 and then later given to Lynn Kaplanian. Both quilts were part of a massive action that included thousands of quilts, made beforre and during the war, sent to Europe to help those in distress.
TRC 2020.0194) continues the story of Mennonite relief quilts. It was made recently by a group of European Mennonites, including from The Netherlands (better known locally as the Doopsgezinden) for sending to war-torn Syria and the refugees in Jordan. Hundreds of quilts have been made and already sent and many more are on the way.The third quilt (
The TRC is particularly pleased and honoured with the third quilt, because the amazing story of relief quilts, which continues to the present day, needs to be told and preserved for future generations, and we also like to get the word out about what the Mennonite community, including the Dutch Doopsgezinden, are doing and why.
As I said, we are honoured by their confidence in us. All three quilts will be on display in the TRC exhibition about American quilts that opens on the 5th February and can be seen until 25th June.