By Nichole Matthews
This Project--Giving Voices to Ghosts--has been over 13 years in the making. Many hands helped shape the collection to this point, and it is my hope many more will help ensure it inspires and intrigues teachers, students and scholars for years to come. I was presented these materials around 2005 with the hope that, as a German teacher, I would be able to do something with them. What I found was an astounding collection of letters, telegrams and artwork, all jumbled in an artist’s portfolio.
This spanned from post WWI through the end of WWII. These materials were documentation of aid given throughout Europe by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker relief organization. In 2000, the traveling exhibit: Quiet Helpers - Quaker Service in Post War Germany - an exhibit from the German Historical Museum in Berlin, opened in the United States at the First Friends Meeting House in Indianapolis. The Exhibit had been traveling throughout major German cities for three years. The German Consul attended as well as other representatives. The materials here in this collection were left to First Friends Meeting by this group.
Stan Banker, First Friends Pastor at the time, contacted the American Friends Service Committee to see about returning the artifacts to them. It is my understanding that he was told that First Friends should keep them. There are 62 different artifacts in the collection. Most of the children’s artwork was bound together in string. In order to be able to fully show and study the children’s work, they were separated.