The Model Camp: TerezínVoices and Art From and About TerezínI Never Saw Another Butterfly From the late months of 1941 through 1944, 15,000 children were deported to Terezín. While living conditions were deplorable, it was nonetheless taunted as a model community for Jewish prisoners. While most of the children who passed through the gates of Terezín did … Continued
The Model Camp: TerezínVoices and Art From and About Terezín I Never Saw Another Butterfly
From the late months of 1941 through 1944, 15,000 children were deported to Terezín. While living conditions were deplorable, it was nonetheless taunted as a model community for Jewish prisoners. While most of the children who passed through the gates of Terezín did not survive, some of their poetry and drawings did. Through the years, children stuffed the walls of their dormitories with their writings and drawings. Some were buried. After the liberation of the camp, they were reclaimed. In 1955, what remained was restored and put into a book, I Never Saw Another Butterfly. Following are excerpts from that collection. Whenever the name of a writer of verse or the artist is known it has been included.
The ButterflyThe last, the very last, So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow. Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing against a white stone….Such, such a yellow Is carried lightly ’way up high. It went away I’m sure because it wished to kiss the world good-bye.For seven weeks I’ve lived in here, Penned up inside this ghetto. But I have found what I love here. The dandelions call to me And the white chestnut branches in the court. Only I never saw another butterfly.That butterfly was the last one. Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.Pavel Friedman, April 6, 1942
I am a Jew I am a Jew and will be a Jew forever. Even if I should die from hunger, never will I submit. I will always fight for my people, on my honor. I will never be ashamed of them; I give my word.
I am proud of my people, how dignified they are. Even though I am oppressed, I will always come back to life. Franta Bass
When a new child comes Everything seems strange to him. What, on the ground I have to lie? Eat black potatoes? No! Not I! I’ve got to stay? It’s dirty here! The floor- why, look, it’s dirt, I fear! And I’m supposed to sleep on it? I’ll get all dirty!
Here the sound of shouting, cries, And oh, so many flies. Everyone knows flies carry disease. Oooh, something bit me! Wasn’t that a bedbug? Here in Terezín, life is hell and when I’ll go home again, I can’t yet tell.
“Teddy” 1943The Little Mouse
A mousie sat upon a shelf, Catching fleas in his coat of fur. But he couldn’t catch her- what chagrin!- She’d hidden ‘way inside his skin. He turned and wriggled, knew no rest, That flea was such a nasty pest!
His daddy came And searched his coat. He caught the flea and off he ran To cook her in the frying pan. The little mouse cried, “Come and see! For lunch we’ve got a nice, fat flea!” Koleba 1944
On a Sunny Evening
On a purple, sun-shot evening Under wide-flowering chestnut trees Upon the threshold full of dust Yesterday, today, the days are all like these.
Trees flower forth in beauty, Lovely too their very wood all gnarled and old That I am half afraid to peer Into their crowns of green and gold.
The sun has made a veil of gold So lovely that my body aches. Above, the heavens shriek with blue Convinced I’ve smiled by some mistake. The world’s abloom and seems to smile. I want to fly but where, how high? If in barbed wire, things can bloom Why couldn’t I? I will not die!
The Voices Education Project offers tools, philosophies, and learning methods that will help young people understand the roots of conflict and the trauma of war, confront the pain and fear at the heart of conflict, and help to build healthy human communities in the wake of war. We use the arts and education to transform the consciousness of young people, give teachers and students a way to explore the most important and terrifying issues of our day, and create a dialogue in which all voices can be heard, and all points of view included, without engendering fear, hatred, or anger.