January 27th is International Day in Memory of the Holocaust Victims.
Hana Volavková (1904-1985) was the only curator of the Central Jewish Museum to survive World War II. She collected and edited poems, letters, and drawings in a book called I Never Saw Another Butterfly, which were written by the children of Terezin Concentration Camp.
This poem from the book was written by an unnamed child who was a prisoner at Terezín. A total of 15,000 children under the age of 15 lived in the camp. Only 100 came back. This child was not one of the hundred.
To read “The Butterfly” click:
The 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 here,
in the ghetto.
“The Butterfly” from I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944, edited by Hana Volavková, expanded second edition © 1993 by Schocken Books. Originally published in a special edition for the State Jewish Museum in Prague in 1959.