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Volavkova, Hana, ed. . . . I never saw another butterfly. . . Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp 1942-1944. Comp. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Expanded 2nd ed. 1958. New York: Schocken Books, 1993. Print.

Plot Summary

. . . I never saw another butterfly. . . is a moving collection of drawings and poetry from children held at the Terezin Concentration Camp/ghetto. With assistance from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hana Volavkova brings together a stirring account that children of Terezin faced during their time there. Some of the children survived, many did not. This special collection gives these victims a chance to be known as the children they were, instead of the number and fatality many eventually became.

Critical Analysis

The pages of . . . I never saw another butterfly. . . contain an emotional experience for readers. First-hand accounts from children of the Holocaust solidify the dark days these children endured. The poetry is haunting, solemn, and at times a bit hopeful. This collection serves as a portable museum as readers are able to further their understanding of atrocity that was the Holocaust. As the last page of the book states, “ A total of around 15,000 children under the age of 15 passed through Terezin. Of these, around 100 came back.”
Included is a particularly emotional account of each child who completed a piece of poetry or drawing contained in the detailed catalogs. It is here where readers discover the fate of each child mentioned in the book. Also included is a Foreword, Epilogue, Afterword, and Chronology of events , each of these gives further information on the Holocaust and Terezin’s place in history.

At Terezin

When a new child comes
Everything seems strange to him.
What, on the ground I have to lie?
Eat black potatoes? No! Not I!
I’ve got to stay? It’s dirty here!
The floor — why, look, it’s dirt, I fear!
And I’m supposed to sleep on it?
I’ll get all dirty!

Here the sound of shouting, cries,
An oh, so many flies.
Everyone knows flies carry disease.
Oooh, something bit me! Wasn’t that a bedbug?
Here in Terezin, life is hell
And when I’ll go home again, I can’t yet tell.
L 410, 1943



About lisamscott1

I am a school librarian completing my studies at Texas Woman's University. The focus of this blog is poetry, which I love.

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