The Twenty Quilts

The young minister couple An and Herman Keuning met each other through resistance work during the German occupation of the Netherlands. In 1944 they decided to marry and to settle in the Mennonite parsonage in Irnsum in the middle of Friesland. From there An, a nurse by profession, continued her resistance work. The parsonage served as a stopover for the underground circuit of resisters and refugees, and the front room became an infirmary.

Postwar, a call went out to take in, for a year, Mennonites who had fled from the Ukraine. An offered to organize home shelter for 100 persons in and around Irnsum. When a family of four were taken into An and Herman’s home, a shortage of bedding prompted her to contact MCC (Mennonite Central Committee). A large number of quilts, hand made by Mennonites in North America, were delivered. When the Mennonite refugees embarked a year later to settle in Paraguay, the quilts stayed behind. An retained many of them for years, a poignant reminder of that period.

Thirty-five years later, when Lynn lodged in An and Herman’s weekend house, the quilts covering all the beds reminded her of her youth in North America. Ten years later, they met again and, intrigued by An's life story, Lynn stimulated her to write her memoirs. Passing on the Comfort interweaves part of her autobiography and Lynn’s life story. The book was launched at the opening of a traveling exhibition organized by MCC, Akron, Pennsylvania, which brought the twenty quilts back from the Netherlands to meet their makers.

The twenty quilts are in the care of a foundation, which manages their exhibition and sells the book, now in three languages. The quilts have been shown in many places in the USA and Canada, The Netherlands and the Ukraine. In 2016 they can be seen in Germany and France (see agenda).

Take a look at the 20 quilts.