Book Review: I Never Saw Another Butterfly

Aug 28, 2021 by Pat Black-Gould
I Never Saw Another Butterfly contains the artwork and poetry of children from the Terezin Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia. The camp was the holding place for Jews before they were sent to Auschwitz. The children represented in this book left a legacy containing their work. They could do so because their teachers, at risk of their own lives, taught children art, and literature, and organized poetry contests and cultural events. One of these teachers, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, was from the renowned Bauhaus Art School. She brought her own art supplies to the concentration camp because she believed the arts helped children cope with the chaos in their lives. 

The art and poetry in this book contain the children’s pain and suffering. But their work also depicts their memories, hopes, and dreams—most of which were unfulfilled. The book includes a catalog that lists each child’s name, birth date, deportation date, and date of death. Out of the 15,000 children sent to Terezin, only 100 survived. Friedl DIcker-Brandeis also perished.

There is a note from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in this expanded Second Edition. The notes states that the artistic expression and voices of the children “reach us across the abyss of the greatest crime in human history, allow us to touch them, and restore our own humanity in doing so.”