Using Holocaust education, art, and testimony
to cultivate empathy and social responsibility in classrooms, museums and community centers.
The Butterfly Project is a call to action through education, the arts and memorial making. We teach social justice through lessons of the Holocaust, educating participants about the dangers of hatred and bigotry to cultivate empathy and social responsibility. By painting ceramic butterflies, which are displayed as symbols of resilience and hope, participants remember the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust. In this work, The Butterfly Project honors our commitment to the Survivors to Never Forget.
Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance join The Butterfly Project in San Diego
Using history’s darkest time to teach students about hope, resilience, and kindness, helping them develop the courage to stand up to injustice in today’s world.
The Butterfly Project’s programming is a gentle approach to teaching a difficult topic. It focuses on the power one person has to make a difference in today’s challenging world. Sharing personal stories from Holocaust Survivors and families, painting ceramic butterflies to honor the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust, and creating art installations as reminders for courage, justice, remembrance, and hope. Why the butterfly? The Butterfly Project pays tribute to the poem, “The Butterfly,” written by a young prisoner at the Terezin concentration camp. Butterflies are beautiful, fragile and resilient and represent transformation and freedom.
Watch our programming in action
Stories from our Community
Participants of all ages and backgrounds share the meaningful and impactful experience they’ve had with The Butterfly Project school and community programming.
For years I had wanted to do something that was age appropriate for our students. Our butterfly installation in the center of our campus is a wall of remembrance, but it is also a wall of hope.
I was thrilled to bring The Butterfly Project to my students, they were honored to be painting a butterfly for someone who did not live, and they felt they are living for her or for him – and were ecstatic to participate in this project.
We’ve brought The Butterfly Project to the Museum of Tolerance for our youth education programs and our family days. Painting a butterfly while hearing the story of a survivor not only passes on their legacy but it is handing over the torch.
It’s important that people of all faiths remember The Holocaust and when we reached out to The Butterfly Project, the students at Calvary Christian could connect with a survivor’s story and do something through art to make a better world.
That’s why artistic endeavors are so important, if you can get to youth and they’re a part of something creative and other people are connected to it that are not like them but they are still working on it together. . . a lasting impact is made.
The Butterfly Project continues the work of Friedl Dicker Brandeis and the children of Terezin. The power of art to bring hope and to bring beauty to life where there is no beauty, where there are no butterflies. I think that’s incredible. I believe in art, totally.
What The Butterfly Project does is give a voice to the anonymous child. It was not the number that was lost, it was human lives that were lost.
Stories from Survivors
Holocaust Survivors, as well as their children and grandchildren, have a platform to share their personal and unique stories through The Butterfly Project programming.
When you told me the purpose of The Butterfly Project and that it would be butterflies, I told you that this would go over. It was not something that kids would be afraid of, not scary pictures that would make kids run away, they would want to do it, and this was my excitement.
I am a Survivor of Terezin Concentration camp and when I see and I hear all about what you do with the butterflies it is a lesson for life, for the next generations to remember and I will tell everyone wherever I speak about my story about it.
We can never put it behind us. We need to continue telling our stories and The Butterfly Project is helping us to reach the children. . . the questions that the kids ask and the way that it gets everyone involved, all from these little butterflies, the kids really remember.
The Butterfly Project helped us understand that we have a great responsibility to be catalysts for peace and to speak our to help those who are in need.
I went home after hearing the Holocaust Survivor’s story and told my family…and I am glad that I could paint a butterfly to be part of remembering all the kids who were killed.
The Butterfly Project was important to me because it made me part of remembering the Holocaust. It was like I was saying to a child of the Holocaust, ‘You were there and it was real.’
We want to remember all of these children, and we don’t want to ever let this terrible discrimination happen again.
We are empowering humanity to be “upstanders” rather than bystanders-especially our youth. In Cottbus, students recently saw a swastika on a wall near their school. They answered back by wanting to turn it into a butterfly.
As a society, we must memorialize tragedies like the Holocaust to remind ourselves of the past, to honor lives lost, and to positively shape the future…such a powerful memorial can be as simple as a ceramic butterfly.
With the laying of each tile, pebble, mosaic, and butterfly I contemplated the enormity of the history that this piece represents.
Our educational and arts programming has reached approximately 265,000 participants in over 180 schools and universities, 75 Jewish organizations, 4 U.S.-based Holocaust Museums, and 2 Presidential Libraries, and has engaged schools and communities in over 20 states and 11 countries.
OUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER
Ways to Give
What will you do to create a more hopeful and just world? Join us in our fight against hatred and bigotry today.
Our donors are the lifeline of our organization and make it possible for The Butterfly Project to reach and teach thousands of students each year.
Our Latest News
Check out what we’ve been up to and read about schools and communities from around the world who have brought our programming to their students!