Between January 1940 and August 1941, men, women, boys and girls were murdered by the Nazi’s if they were mentally or physically disabled. In total, as the name of the project suggests, seventy thousand, two hundred and seventy three were killed. Before being murdered, three doctors read their files, and each doctor would put a red cross if they thought them unfit to live. If two out of three crosses were drawn on the victim’s file, they would be eliminated from society within one to two hours.

This is what the 70,273 project aims to represent and raise awareness of this abomination of human rights. The white square, represents the sheet of paper that was the victim’s death sentence, and the red crosses represent the doctors’ choice, to kill a human being. The squares, once made, will be toured around the world, and being displayed in one hundred countries.

Waldegrave School, Hampton High, Teddington School and Twickenham are all getting involved, and so potentially four thousand blocks could be made, and be displayed in cathedrals across the country, including Rochester, Lincoln and possibly Westminster Abbey to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2018.

I was able to contact Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, the creator of the project, and asked her a few questions. Upon asking her why she decided to start the project, her answer was simple; she was watching a documentary with her daughter about World War Two, and at the mention of the murder of seventy thousand two hundred and seventy-three people, her interest was caught. Ten days later, she launched the project, and crosses began arriving. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness, give social justice, and to ‘move the collective us to a time when we speak not of abilities or disabilities, but simply of people’. Even though the project is very important for all of these aims, some people I have talked to have said that the project is pointless as it all happened in the past. She said that the project is of utmost importance, as for use to prevent this atrocity ever occurring again, we must first understand the past, and to commemorate the victims of it. The project also is a way of participation in something bigger in ourselves, which spreads kindness and positivity. She put this beautifully by saying ‘When we pour something positive and good into the world, we do our part to put society closer to the tipping point where goodness, kindness, and compassion will be the norm, not the exception’. I thanked her for her time, and wished her luck with the project.

If you would like to get involved in this project, then follow the link below to find out how to create your own crosses, who is getting involved, and more.

Eve Tyler, Waldegrave School