The 70273 Project has an ambitious aim – to blanket the world in Love.
The number that lies behind The Project is the number of babies, children, men and women who were killed between January 1940 and August 1941 because they were deemed to be ‘imperfect’ and ‘unworthy of life’. If two doctors put a red cross on an individual’s medical assessment form, it was the kiss of death, and they were killed by lethal injection, gassed, starved or shot.
The Aktion T4 Programme is the only death programme that bears Hitler’s signature, and it germinated from a letter that Hitler received from a farmer, asking for permission to kill his disabled son because he was ‘useless’. For Hitler it was an opportunity to dispense of individuals who were judged to be an economic burden, or unfit for Nazi society. It also became the precursor of The Final Solution.
It is a little known, and particularly dark period of human history; the victims only received a memorial in 2014 in Berlin, at Tiergartenstrasse 4, the headquarters of the programme. Laying the foundation for the memorial in 2013, the German minister for cultural state affairs, Bernd Neumann said that the monument should set a sign “against hate, delusion and coldheartedness – and for tolerance, empathy and a respect for life.”
And that is what The 70273 Project is all about. It is a mass petition for love and humanity, being signed in stitches from people all over the world, in over 100 countries.
American Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is The 70273 Project Founder; she woke up one morning with the idea that each and every one of these individuals should receive their own memorial, stitched with love by someone they never knew, and in 2016 on ‘International Love Day’ as Jeanne calls the 14th of February, The Project was born.
The white fabric represents the sheet of paper, and the two red crosses, the doctors’ evaluation – it was such a simple way to end someone’s life with the stroke of a pen, but in The 70273 Project, this simple symbol takes on a new strength and symbolism.
It becomes a mark of love, a celebration of being unique, and being perfectly imperfect. Each block of fabric is as different as its maker, and the person they are commemorating.
The crosses that you see displayed in Whithorn Priory represent 2,539 lives. These are some of the 14,024 blocks that have been made by thousands of people, across the South East and beyond and have been sent by post, or collected at block making gatherings, and then sewn into quilts and pelmets at community stitch-ins and get-togethers, or worked on for weeks by individuals who stepped forward to help.
It has been a very personal, and emotional response to something huge; in its simplest form, it’s an individual giving their appreciation of another individual and using their time, energy and creativity to do so.
It is a colossal achievement and people power at its best.
The fourteen thousand plus commemorations were on display in Rochester Cathedral between January and March. Then between March and May a number of quilts and the two huge altar panels have been shown in St Johns Church, Notting Hill.
We are delighted that they have found a new temporary home in the Priory at Whithorn ……
You can find a list of contributors to this display at the visitor’s desk and there is also a book of photographs and some of the stories and personal histories that arose in the making of the Rochester Cathedral exhibit.
Please take a 70273 Project Postcard, and send it to someone to spread the Love. You can leave a message on the Love Tree about your impression of The 70273 Project, and if you have been affected by The 70273 Project and would like to talk to someone, please ask to speak to the Chaplain on duty.
Eventually, the whole of The 70273 Project will come together … estimated to be over 1,000 quilts. But The Project isn’t complete yet – we still have a way to go before each of the 70,273 victims of the Aktion T4 programme are commemorated, so if you would like to get involved in commemorating the 70,273 then please visit www.the70273project.org for more details.