This quilt was finished and entered into my local guild show in 2020, and the show got canceled along with many other events due to Covid-19. So it finally got into the guild show this year. This year was the first year they had a professional judge, so I was extra excited to get 2nd place in art quilts. Here’s the history of the quilt for those new to my blog since then.
I have another reason for writing about it again. The book, Bloodlands, that I recently read and reviewed , gave some more information about the number. Not only had I always thought 70273 was too small, but also the leader of the quilt project said that more had likely been killed, as she accepted blocks after the 70273 goal was reached. But I’d never taken time to research it. Imagine my surprise to come across the number while reading Snyder’s book!
Snyder explains the history of the “Final Solution”: first it was to move Jews out of Germany, not to kill them, and there were three sites chosen. Two were rejected because the governments refused and the third because the British blockade prevented the transfer by ocean. Jews were initially sent to concentration camps (Snyder distinguishes concentration camps from death factories.), where they were used as laborers till they died. When lack of food was more urgent than need for labor, they were killed most often by shooting squads. However, that was inefficient, so a new method was sought and found in an earlier program.
Earlier Hitler’s attempt to “purify” the German race led to the project to exterminate people with mental or physical disabilities, and a death factory system was invented, It stopped when Hitler got too much objection to killing citizens. The total when it stopped was 70273. But the death factory system became the model for what we now know of as the Holocaust.