Holocaust Quilt: Many More Butterflies

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My friend Gillian was teaching religious classes about the Holocaust and wrestling with how to teach this difficult subject to her Jewish students. In the process of her research, she came across the book “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” by Hana Volaukova. This picture book includes poems and artwork from some of the 15,000 children who passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp; less than 100 children survived.

You cannot help be moved by this book. In a situation of profound sadness, the people in this camp were able to focus on art and beauty.

As a result of reading this story — and, of course, in tribute to my dear friend — I created this quilt. It was the first time I realized how much emotion can go into a piece of art. I created this piece with a very heavy heart (and shed many tears), thinking of those souls whose lives were cut short, but also trying to capture the beauty that they created. The quilt has a block wall in the bottom and black netting at the top. This, of course, represents the starkness of the concentration camp.

However I also wanted the quilt to reflect hope and beauty. Wildflowers are growing on the wall. And surrounding the netting are beautiful, hand-made butterflies. The pieces is framed with six-sided stars in honor of the Jews who were killed.

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” is available from amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/I-Never-Saw-Another-Butterfly/dp/0805210156/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319028954&sr=1-1

"Many More Butterflies" Quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up of butteflies

Close up of the flowers (Pardon the purse strap)

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One response »

  1. The 5th graders at the religious school I teach absolutely loved this quilt. It is a challenge teaching children (especially Jewish ones) about the horrors of the Holocaust. You don’t want to frighten them with too many details or graphic images that will result in nightmares. That is why it was so good to use the “Arts” to help educate. The poems of the children in the book “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” were incredibly haunting, but your quilt provided my students with a tangible ray of hope and comfort.

    Since then, I have made other Holocaust presentations to children in my local community. They too were immediately drawn to your quilt. We used the imagery of the netting (that signified the barb wire fences) and the butterflies & flowers (which symbolized life “outside” of the camp) to have a discussion about what the children at Terenzin went through.

    Thank you again for making such a touching piece of art, that in turn, has touched so many others.

    Gillian Whitney
    Providence, UT

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