I am an American by birth. My mother was also born in the US, and her parents were too. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather moved to the States from Lithuania at the end of the 1800s. My father and all his family are from Iraq. We grew up knowing about the Holocaust but my family was never affected closely. As Jews, we are all affected, but my family was a bit more removed than most.
My husband’s family had a very different experience. They are originally from Poland. The family was on the move, trying to stay East of the constantly moving front. They were on the Russian side of it and eventually, my husband’s grandfather, whom our son is named after, was lost after being drafted in the Russian army. His father and grandmother made their way to American-occupied Germany when the war was over. After waiting years, they finally made it to the US. They were the lucky ones. Most of the rest of the family perished.
I originally heard about making triangle quilt blocks in a memorial quilt through an email list that I belong to. Knowledge of the atrocities of what happened in the Holocaust has been dwindling. It was very important for me to be a part of this project. If you want to be a part of it as well, you can read more about it at The Stitching Institue for Collective Memory.
In short, people are asked to make a triangle quilt block (or blocks) honoring victims and heroes. At first, I was stumped on what to do. My children are very close to their grandfather, who was able to escape the horrors as a child. I asked them what they thought I should do. My daughter, Shira, designed a block that represents both a talit, a Jewish prayer shawl, and the Israel flag. On it we wrote עם ישראל חי, roughly translated as the Jewish nation lives. I wrote the following dedication on the back:
“Dedicated to Tauba Sliwka, who lost most of her family in the Holocaust, and who now has four generations of her descendants living in Israel.”
I am very proud to be a part of this project. If you would like to be a part of it too, please have a look at the site and submit your triangle. It is not only for quilters; anyone can be a part of it.