I Nev­er Saw Anoth­er But­ter­fly: Chil­dren’s Draw­ings and Poems from the Terezin Con­cen­tra­tion Camp, 1942 – 1944

Hana Volavko­va, ed. 

  • From the Publisher
April 17, 1994

A total of 15,000 chil­dren under the age of fif­teen passed through the Terezin Con­cen­tra­tion Camp between the years 1942 – 1944; less than 100 sur­vived. In these poems and pic­tures drawn by the young inmates of Terezin, we see the dai­ly mis­ery of these uproot­ed chil­dren, as well as their courage and opti­mism, their hopes and fears. The ghet­to of Terezin (There­sien­stadt), locat­ed in the hills out­side Prague, was an unusu­al con­cen­tra­tion camp in that it was cre­at­ed to cov­er up the Nazi geno­cide of the Jews. Billed as the Fuhrer’s gift to the Jews, ” this mod­el ghet­to” was the site of a Red Cross inspec­tion vis­it in 1944. With its high pro­por­tion of artists and intel­lec­tu­als, cul­ture flour­ished in the ghet­to — along­side star­va­tion, dis­ease, and con­stant dread of trans­ports to the death camps of the east. Every one of its inhab­i­tants was con­demned in advance to die. These inno­cent and hon­est depic­tions allow us to see through the eyes of the chil­dren what life was like in the ghet­to. The chil­dren’s poems and draw­ings, reveal­ing matu­ri­ty beyond their years, are haunt­ing reminders of what no child should ever have to see. This expand­ed edi­tion of I Nev­er Saw Anoth­er But­ter­fly is pub­lished in coop­er­a­tion with the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Discussion Questions