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.
A Program For Everyone
Many different organizations can take part in the project, including public and private schools, museums, faith communities, local organizations, service clubs, and community groups.
The Butterfly Project stands out as a Holocaust Education program combining age- appropriate, historical testimony and storytelling with the arts, emphasizing the values of kindness, resilience, courage and gratitude.
The Butterfly Project (TBP) was co-founded in 2006 at San Diego Jewish Academy by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price as a new approach to teaching the Holocaust that is hands-on, hopeful and profound, collectively memorializing the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust and honoring the survivors.
TBP draws our inspiration from the poem The Last Butterfly, a poem written by Pavel Friedmann while he was in a prisoner in Terezin, a concentration camp in the former Czechoslovakia. Our work is designed to bring Holocaust education to life in a meaningful and personal manner.
Through age-appropriate curriculum, oral history, and the arts, each participant paints a butterfly and joins other communities in creating and collectively displaying 1.5 million ceramic butterflies worldwide, one for every child killed in the Holocaust. Our programming explores the Holocaust’s complex history and emphasizes the power of hope, the dangers of bullying, bigotry and discrimination, the necessity of cultivating empathy, the profound impact of upstanders for justice and the importance of gratitude. Butterfly kits, paired with biography cards of children who were killed in the Holocaust, help participants to feel both a part of history and a part of creating a more peaceful future. Over 200 communities worldwide have joined in our mission. And this is only the beginning.
2006 – Co-Founders educator Jan Landau & artist Cheryl Rattner Price launch The Butterfly Project (TBP) at San Diego Jewish Academy, (SDJA) TBP was originally called Zikaron V’Tikvah, Hebrew for Remembrance and Hope.
2007 – Local Holocaust survivors create first butterfly mural at SDJA. Outreach begins to communities and schools across the country and beyond.
2008- Classroom kits are assembled by our volunteers. First large scale butterfly mural made at SDJA.
2009- The Butterfly Project (TBP) presents at school conferences in Boston and Houston, increasing outreach. Levine JCC in Charlotte, NC, our longest collaborating partner, begins program.
2010- TBP events at Museum of Tolerance, Steps to Tolerance Program and Family Days.
2011- TBP presents at Anti-Defamation League (ADL) conference in San Diego.
2012- The Butterfly Project begins making a documentary film and our Founders go to Poland and Israel to spread our mission around the world! More than 3600 butterflies painted on the border of Germany and Poland.
2014 Ela Weissberger, Terezin survivor becomes a significant part of the film. Filmmaker Joe Fab (Paper Clips) mentors Co-Founder Cheryl Rattner Price and eventually becomes co-producer.
2015 – The Butterfly Project travels to Prague and Terezin with Ela to finish our documentary, now named, NOT The Last Butterfly. TBP spreads its wings to Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru and Guatemala.
2017 – NOT The Last Butterfly becomes an award winning documentary film; showings in Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Kansas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Arizona, Texas, N. Carolina, Atlanta, Hong Kong & Latvia. The Butterfly Project passes 200,000 butterflies painted for the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust.
2018 – Cottbus, Germany joins The Butterfly Project and spreads to more than 30 schools. Events on college campuses include University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Chapman University, Orange CA, University of San Diego, CA.
2019- TBP returns to Israel to present at JCC Global, Beit Terezin and Beit Hatfutsot, Tel Aviv University.
2020 – TBP expands its reach, leveraging new technology amidst a pandemic, partnering with more participants across the US, including entire school districts.
2021- Large scale mural dedicated at Merage JCC, Irvine CA right in middle of pandemic. Biography card research dramatically expands our database to pair with butterflies.
Today – You and your students join The Butterfly Project!
Our Community of Holocaust Survivors
Our community of Holocaust survivors offer an invaluable learning experience that when they speak virtually or in-person to a group of students or community members. It is an irreplaceable experience that conveys important lessons in a way that nothing else can…
- The necessity of perseverance and resilience
- The power of hope
- The dangers of bullying, bigotry, prejudice and discrimination
- The profound impact of upstanders for justice
- The importance of gratitude