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I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings & Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp,1942-44 Hardcover – March 23, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0805241150 ISBN-10: 0805241159 Edition: 2 Exp Sub

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; 2 Exp Sub edition (March 23, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805241159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805241150
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,587,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Czech

From the Inside Flap

The drawings and poems by the children of Terezin are among the most poignant documents of the Holocaust. This expanded edition of the unforgettable collection I Never Saw Another Butterfly was occasioned by the loan of the children's art by the State Jewish Museum in Prague to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., for exhibition and for this book.

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 and of a propaganda film produced by the Nazis. Some elderly Jews even paid to enter its protective ghetto walls. With its high proportion of artists and intellectuals, culture flourished in the ghetto -- alongside starvation, disease, and constant dread of the continuous transports to the death camps of the east. Every one of its inhabitants was condemned in advance to die.

A total of 15,000 children under the age of fifteen passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp between the years 1942 and 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 drawings and poems are all that is left of these children. About those who signed their names to their work, it has been possible to find out a few facts: the year and place of their birth, the date of their transport to Terezin and to Auschwitz, and the date of their death. For most of them that last date was 1944, a year before the end of the war.

These innocent and honest depictions allow us to see through the eyes of the children what life was like in the ghetto. Birds and butterflies flutter with the looming red roofs of Terezin in the background; a luminous moonlit room betrays the stark interior of the barracks. Pencil line drawings depict the threatening guards, work brigades, and deportations they witnessed. Side by side with the realities are images of hope -- a sailboat guided by a candle, a lighted menorah, children playing in a garden that resembles Eden, figures scaling mountain peaks to liberation.

The children's poems and drawings, revealing a maturity beyond their years, are haunting reminders of what no child should ever have to see. Each piece of art gives the overwhelming tragedy of genocide a human and individual face.

This new, expanded edition of I Never Saw Another Butterfly includes many additional drawings and poems chosen from the archives of the State Jewish Museum in Prague by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this book for any library and it is a must have for Language Arts and History teachers.
Meg O'Reilly
Through this book one can get a glimpse of what the children of the Holocaust felt... It touched my heart and I will never forget the children.
Amazon Customer
This collection of artwork and poems by the children confined to Terezin Concentration Camp is beautiful and thoughtful.
KV

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Rebekah Sue Harris VINE VOICE on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Terezin Concentration Camp held, between 1942 and 1944, fifteen thousand children under the age of fifteen years old, for various lengths of time, before the children were carted out to other camps to die. A few teachers came in with sparse quantities of art supplies, and they used art "lessons" as a way of offering art therapy. "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" is a representation of those surviving pictures, which are now housed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, USA. Illustrating the pictures, as it were, are collections of poetry and prose, and excerpts from a few journals.
I wish I spoke Dutch (?) so that I could read contributor Helga Weissova's "Das Kunstlerische Schaffen" -- I'd like to see what else she has to say. I wish that Soña Spitzovã, who drew my favorite of the drawings ("Starlight In A Dark Room," page 53) hadn't died in Auschwitz before she was even fifteen years old.
The things these children saw! They noticed the trains, the transports. Helga Weissova did a painting of a woman, JUDE star on her clothing, whose hair was searched for lice. They also saw flowers in jelly jars on tables. They remembered their own beds.
I think that art exists, in part, to speak when we are no longer able to.
This book was purchased from my amazon.com wishlist. I think I'll be getting a copy for a friend who's in school to be an art therapist; I think she'll get a lot out of it.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Heather Kendall on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
...I never saw another butterfly... is a book which holds a collection of children's drawings and poems that were created at the Terezin concentration camp from 1942-1944. In this moving book several children's works are displayed, taken from a much larger collection. The book begins by telling the background of the Terezin concentration camp and then it lays out numerous beautiful pictures along with many moving poems. At the end of the book a short summary is given in the epilogue and afterword about the works of the children. Also included in the book is a catalog of the poems and drawings, naming the authors if known, their dates of birth, and their dates of death.
...I never saw another butterfly... is a moving illustration of what it was like for a child to live in a concentration camp during WWII. The drawings often depict a life full of beauty and it seemed amazing to me that the children were able to, at this time, see all the beautiful things around them even though they were in the midst of death. The poems on the other hand often portray the longing of wanting to be in a safe place elsewhere, and they also relate more of the harsh reality of what was really going on at the concentration camps. The book is tied together through the contrast of the brightly colored paintings with the dim spirit of the poems. The reader will instantly be amazed at the talents of these young children, most under the age of 14, and at the same time feel a horrible sense of pity for these children, whom most perished in Auschwitz. The book is a wonderful and diverse collection of works, although there could have been a more diverse collection of authors included, instead of multiple works by the same author.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Whitney Bell on May 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was recently in the play I never saw another butterfly. I played one of the children durning the holocaust. In the play I read a poem that was in the book I never saw another butterfly, and the poem brought me to tears. When our director brought in the actual book, and I read all of the other poems and saw all of the other drawings i was overwhelmed by the pain and struggle that was portrayed in the book. I hope that others are as lucky to read this book as i was.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
How do you rate a book like this?! There is no way to say whether a child's poem or picture is a 5 or a 10. Every page is exquisite, filled with the shocking reality that childhood existed during the Holocaust, even if brief. I first owned this book as a child. It haunted me then, and still does. What a blessing to rediscover it! I would say this book is appropriate for all. Truly, it is an intimate look at how the Holocaust affected our children. The power evoked from some of the pieces leaves a person very introspectrive. I remember bringing this book into show and tell, both in Hebrew school and elementary school. My teachers were able to use it as a good starting point for the discussion of the Holocaust, and other genocides. Use this book to educate yourself, and use it to educate others.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book of poetry and images is powerful yet simple. Having had prior experience with the play of the same name, I thought I was prepared, but I wasn't. The poetry and images those children of the Holocaust created are truly amazing. We've read Anne Frank and Elie Weisel, but these peopms of life in Terezin from a child's eyes is extremely powerful. Elia grew up too soon, and his books are of an adult's perspective...what the children saw and felt is much more powerfully represented in this book. It is a true must for poetry, WWII, or literature buffs alike!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I went to Washington D.C. for my class trip in 8th grade, we went to the halocaust museum, and I sat and watched a video (it was on interviews with survivors of the concentration camps) and I saw that, and I realized everything that happened was terrible. I started crying and could not stop. I had to leave- when one of my teachers had seen me, they sat with me outside, and I will never forget what I saw. I was the only person crying out of my eighth grade class, the only one. 200 8th graders went in there, and none of them were as touched as I was. I know this has not much to do with the book, but thanks to the teacher who saved all the drawings, so we could see, and what we will never forget.
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