The first year I taught Night by Elie Wiesel, I was struck by the sense of "unfinished-ness" my students felt upon completion of the text. They said they felt like there should be something "more." We talked about it, and realized that what we really wanted was a way to reflect and remember, and we weren't quite sure how to go about doing so.
As it often does during times of uncertainty, poetry presented itself as a fitting option.
In my research, I came across the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944
This book includes writing, poetry, and artwork from the concentration camp Theresienstadt, or Terezin.
Though Terezin was a concentration camp, the Nazis also used it as a "model settlement" to show high-ranking officials and even, on one occasion, to deceive the Red Cross.
Out of the 15,000 children who passed through Terezin, fewer than 100 survived. The fact that the words and drawings of some of these children are preserved in this book makes it a powerful artifact to consider.
I created this project in response to our study of symbols in Night as well as Pavel Friedmann’s now unforgettable poem "The Butterfly."
How We Remember and Honor the Victims of the Holocaust: The Butterfly Project created by Lauren Colletti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License