Spreading Our Wings to Germany
One Story Among Thousands
On October 28, 1938, Nazi secret police arrested 10-year-old Alfred Schindler at a school in Cottbus, Germany because he was Jewish. That day he and his family were pushed out of Germany. Alfred never returned home to see his friends again. Of the entire Schindler family, only he and his brother Max survived the Holocaust.
There are thousands and thousands of stories like this one that tell of the horrors young Jewish children in Germany faced during the Holocaust.
In 2019, German schoolchildren began embarking on an art and education program to learn about the hate that embroiled their country and much of Europe during WWII. They read the about Alfred Schindler or a similar child – a child much like the students today, with many of the same hopes and dreams. What these students learn isn’t easy, but they want to know what happened and find a way to remember.
A Mission of Love and Reconciliation
German and US schools are collaborating through The Butterfly Project, developing real and lasting connections between children of diverse backgrounds and the lessons of the Holocaust. We hope to reduce what separates us and inspire connections with young upstanders whose countries were once enemies. Our goal is to create understanding, tolerance and pathways of continued reconciliation.
Steve Schindler, the son of two Holocaust survivors, Nicole Nocon, a parent and journalist from Cottbus, Germany, and The Butterfly Project are partnering together to bring programming to German schools and communities.
To cultivate empathy and social responsibility. To connect US and German schoolchildren by educating them about our shared history. To inspire today’s youth to be Upstanders and empower them to stand against injustice.
The Butterfly Project teaches about the dangers of hatred and bigotry, informed by the Holocaust. By painting and displaying ceramic butterflies, schoolchildren memorialize the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust, one child at a time.
Videos and Media Coverage
In January 2019, Steve Schindler and Amy Parish, a teacher at San Diego’s La Jolla Country Day School (La Jolla, CA), worked to create the first partnership between US and German schools via The Butterfly Project. LJCDS already had a special relationship with the German primary school, Bewegte Grundschule (Cottbus, Germany), through the Schindler family. Steve’s uncle, Alfred, was the young boy arrested at Bewegte Grundschule. Alfred’s younger brother (and Steve’s father), Max would go on to marry Auschwitz survivor Rose Schindler, who is a frequent Holocaust education speaker at local San Diego schools, including LJCSD. Rose received a high school diploma from LJCDS with the Class of 2018.
Butterflies painted by LJCDS students joined with those of their Bewegte Grundschule friends’ in a memorial installed on January 25, 2019 to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Below are videos from Bewegte Grundschule showing the installation created by butterflies painted by students who participated in The Butterfly Project.
German news coverage of butterfly painting at Bewegte Grundschule in December 2018
Butterfly Installation at Bewegte Grundschule, Cottbus, Germany on January 25, 2019
Our future lies in the hearts and minds of children like these and we’re determined to inspire them to be open to others and to stand up against hate and xenophobia. The Butterfly Project, a grassroots nonprofit whose goal is to reach 1.5 million children (one for each child killed in the Holocaust), uses art-focused instruction a historical view that cultivates empathy and sparks action to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Today, American and German students are working together to make the world a better place.
The programming at Bewegte Grundschule provides a simple template other German schools can use to bring The Butterfly Project to their students. Order a kit to get started.
Click the button to order your kit(s) and bring The Butterfly Project to your German school or community. If you have any questions or if you would like more information:
>> For German inquiries, please contact Nicole Nocon, independent journalist, email@example.com, +49 355-3818313
>> For US inquiries, please contact Cheryl Rattner-Price, The Butterfly Project, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 619-708-6883
Organizing this initiative are Steven Schindler, son of Holocaust survivors Max and Rose Schindler, Nicole Nocon, a Cottbus journalist who is leading planning in Germany, and Cheryl Rattner Price, The Butterfly Project Co-Founder and Executive Director.
Background and References:
Daily Mail:Holocaust Fatigue Amongst Germans Today