WW2 Canadian Red Cross quilts - Collection of the Groebenzeller Quilt Group

A collection of quilts made by Canadian women and sent to Europe during WWII.

Monika Modersitzki is the keeper of the stories of the Canadian Red Cross quilts sent to Europe in the 1940s. These were saved by several German quilters who gave permission for them to be exhibited at the TRC exhibition Textile Tales of WW2. Monika has written a booklet in which these quilts are pictured and described, entitled Notzeit-Quilts, Work in Progress. See also

The booklet was published on the occasion of the exhibition:
"#erzählt #gefärbt #genäht, Erinnerungen - Märchen”
11. Gröbenzeller Quiltausstellung

26. - 28. April 2019
Freizeitzentrum Gröbenzell Wildmoosstraße 36
82194 Gröbenzell

The owners of the Canadian Red Cross quilts are members of the Groebenzeller Quilt Group.This is the story of how they became the owners:

1987 they emerged out of the nowhere – quilts with the tag "GIFT OF CANADIAN RED CROSS SOCIETY“. Some showed up at a flea-market in Munich/Germany, others in bulk at a farmhouse-barn in the Munich area. It was pure coincidence, that those quilts were found. Obviously the sellers had no idea, what to do with the old "stuff“ and knew nothing about its possible value – not to speak of the historical dimension. Not all of the quilts were distributed in Europe to people in need and nobody ever found out why. The storage of the quilts in depots of the Caritas (German Catholic Charities), in railway carriages or other unknown depots for more than 40 years had dirtied or damaged many of them. A quilter in Munich, immediately informed her quilting-friends in nearby Groebenzell about discovering those “Canadian Red Cross Quilts” in Munich in the late eighties. The “Groebenzeller Quiltgruppe” members immediately bought about 20 quilts still in acceptable condition. Still today they keep them in their families and use them.

Elisabeth Greil remembers in 2019:
What a touching gesture! Canadian women made thousands of quilts for the suffering population of war-torn Europe - even for their former enemies during WW II, Germany and Austria. The quilts warmed and comforted many during the harsh winters of the 1940s. Sadly, some of the quilts were forgotten in a freight wagon at the Vienna train station. They were found decades later during a clean-up. Mr. C. offered them for sale at an antique market at the Nockherberg. My assumption is that he didn’t know what a treasure he had, given that some of the quilts were in poor condition. Fortunately, Mrs. T., one of the first quilters in the Munich area, discovered the quilts at the market. She convinced Mr. C. to offer the entire collection of quilts he stored in a barn in Alling for sale. It was 1987. The Groebenzeller quilters jumped at the chance to purchase these special quilts. The quality varied greatly. Some were wholecloth quilts, with only 1 seam in the middle printed with flowers or checks. Others were real works of art. I bought an especially nice 9-patch of lovely fabrics. Unfortunately many of the colors faded over the years. All the quilts were made traditionally: the top of cotton, loose cotton as batting and cotton backing, hand-quilted. The prices varied in the beginning. I paid 220 Marks for my nine-patch and 50 for plain ones. I own five of these historic quilts. I am grateful to own a bit of this peace offering. It would be wonderful if the descendants of the Canadian quilters hear that the work of their mothers, grandmothers or aunts still exists and is admired.

Canadian Red Cross quilts exhibited in TRC Textile Tales of WW2
29 Whole-cloth
31 Nine Patch
32 Whole-cloth
33 Whole-cloth
43 Whole-cloth
45 Bow Tie
50 One Patch
13 Whole cloth: stamp
43 Whole cloth: stamp
50 One-Patch (This quilt is not labelled, but purchased in 1987 from the same dealer selling a collection of quilts labelled GIFT OF CANADIAN RED CROSS SOCIETY.)

Publications in German magazines:
Patchwork Professional: "Quilts that CARE," PP 04/2018
German Patchwork Guild: Patchwork Gilde Heft
Erinnerungen “CARE-Quilts” Einsicht in Forschungsunterlagen, Heft 132 3/2018
Erinnerungen “CARE-Quilts” Einsicht in Forschungsunterlagen, Heft 133 4/2018
Spurensuche nach 70 Jahren "Canadian Red Cross“-Quilts, Heft 129 4/2017

View all records in this project
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