Scrapbookpages Blog

June 1, 2017

Butterflies and the Holocaust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:57 pm

This morning I read a news article which mentions the role of butterflies in the Holocaust:

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Czechoslovakian teenager Alena Synkova penned the poem, “I’d Like to Go Alone,” while confined at the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, a ghetto in the hills outside of Prague that was home to 15,000 children between 1942-1944.

Synkova was one of fewer than 100 children who passed through Terezin to survive the Nazi genocide. Her poignant poem and other drawings and poems created by the children of Terezin are compiled and preserved in “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”, first published in 1959 for the State Jewish Museum in Prague and later published in the United States in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Using a grant she received three years ago to support Holocaust education, Central School Reach teacher Jill Zimmer purchased a classroom set of “I Never Saw a Butterfly” and, working with Grade 5 teacher Jennifer SanAntonio, the two came up with a powerful fifth grade language arts unit.

End quote

I wrote about this in a previous blog post which you can read at

The following quote is from the blog post, cited above:

When I visited the Memorial Site at the former Majdanek camp, I was surprised to see all the artwork on display; there were sculptures and lots of other artwork that had been done by the prisoners in the camp. I remember a rosary that had been fashioned out of bits of bread that had been wadded up and left to dry to make the beads. I did not see the butterfly pictures, but perhaps they had been taken to another Holocaust Museum in America or Israel for display.

The children in the Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp were allowed to do artwork and they were even given lessons in drawing and painting by an adult teacher. Some of their pictures were on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC when I visited there years ago.

But to get back to the “Nazi monsters.” Hitler was an artist himself. Is that why he allowed the children to draw or paint butterflies before they were killed in the gas chamber? Hitler may have thought that he was being kind to the innocent children by allowing them to paint butterflies before dying, but I think this was unnecessarily cruel. It gave the children hope, when there was none.

End quote

1 Comment »

  1. Children in Theresienstadt
    Among the detainees in Theresienstadt were about 15,000 children, who were housed separately in so-called “children’s homes” by gender and year. The prisoners’ self-administration tried to care especially for them. At the expense of the survival chances of the elderly the children received a little better food and a secret instruction from their tutors (also called madrichim ).

    The children’s opera, which was composed in 1938 and premiered at the Jewish Children’s Home in Prague in 1941 in two acts by Hans Krása ( composer ) and Adolf Hoffmeister ( librettist ) Brundibár, was played 55 times after the deportation of Hans Krásas in 1942 to the concentration camp and the Neunotation. She was able to offer the playmates a piece of normality and joy, but the roles had to be filled again and again, as many of the actors were deported to extermination camps. The Viennese girl Greta Klingsberg played the leading role of the Aninka and was able to survive.

    In the former nursery L417 , which used to serve as a school, and in which mainly boys aged 10 to 15 years were imprisoned, the Ghetto Museum has been located since 1991. The girls of Room 28 of the Children’s Home, whose fate was the author of Hannelore Brenner-Wonschick in their book of the same title, were well -known in 2004: Nearly sixty young Jewish, mostly Czech girls were in room 28 of the girls’ house L410 between 1942 and 1944 Detained and destined to be killed in the extermination camps. Fifteen of them survived, and ten of them, scattered all over the world, meet once a year, exchanging and sharing their memories so that the events do not fall into oblivion.

    In all, the children, who were also sent from the SS to the extermination camps, only survived about 150 the end of the war. The poems and pictures produced and preserved in Theresienstadt are regularly the subject of their own exhibitions and publications.
    (Translatuon from German – there are no butterfly pictured mentioned, the usual Blödsinn)

    Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — June 2, 2017 @ 6:49 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: