Shortly before he died, a young Pavel Friedmann wrote these words in a poem entitled “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” describing the hopelessness and despair of the Terezin Ghetto, the usual stop before Auschwitz. More than 15,000 children under the age of 15 passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp between the years 1942 and 1944. Of these, more than 90 percent perished during the Holocaust.

Using these words as inspiration, The Butterfly Project was created as an ongoing effort to collect 15,000 handmade butterflies – the number of innocent children that died in the Terezin Concentration  during those horrifying years. For over 15 years, children and school groups throughout the world have joined together in the project to learn more about the dangers of hatred, prejudice, apathy, and the importance of individual responsibility. No one ever dreamed the reach it would have and how many lives it would touch. Utilizing virtually every art form, the project evolved into an international effort involving the efforts and works of thousands.

This year, La Salle University will be taking part in this project in a variety of ways. On this web page, we will be updating the campus community on upcoming events involving The Butterfly Project, sharing the works and efforts of our students, and providing the campus community with a resource it can use to get involved.

Below will be posted some of of the butterflies that have been created by La Salle students that will become a part of the permanent Butterfly Project collection of butterflies. We will continue to update this page then with ways you can be involved.

The Butterfly Project will be presented  at La Salle University, De La Salle Chapel, on January 29, 2013 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The performance is based on an illustrated book of poetry written by the children in Terezin. A Holocaust survivor/liberator will also speak during this program. Based on the art and poetry of children imprisoned at the Terezin concentration camp during World War II (many of whom died during this era), this project is consistent with the missions of the University and the Christian Brothers.

We invite you to attend and to encourage others to participate. It may be the case that little is known about the Holocaust and the concentration camp experience. You may not know much about the 15,000 children under the age of eighteen who perished in the Terezin Camp during the Holocaust. We think this experience will be more meaningful to if you are prepared for this event. If you are interested in preparing for what you will see and hear please contact Lane Neubauer (neubauer@lasalle.edu) for further information. Material about Terezin Concentration Camp as well as copies of the Poetry Book (“.. I never saw another butterfly …Children’s Drawings and Poetry from Terezin Concentration Camp”) is available.

The Butterfly Project committee at La Salle sees this program as a good way to connect the plight of children threatened in the world today with the fate of these children from Terezin.  Our commitment to children throughout the world, our belief in the United Nations “Rights of the Child,” and particularly our Lasallian educational mission make this program a good “fit” for your students.