Co-Founder, Member of Board of Directors, & Education Team Leader
Jan Landau has over 30 years experience as an elementary school teacher and administrator. While working at San Diego Jewish Academy as Director of Family and Special Programs, she was looking for a way to bring Holocaust remembrance to the school in an age-appropriate way. Inspired by the documentary “Paper Clips” and the poem, “The Butterfly,” written by Pavel Friedmann, a child in a concentration camp, Jan chose the butterfly, a beautiful symbol of hope and freedom, for children to make to memorialize the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. She enlisted the talents of SDJA parent/artist, Cheryl Rattner Price, and together with other parent volunteers, created The Butterfly Project – originally known as Zikaron V’ Tikvah (Remembrance and Hope).
The Butterfly Project has provided me with the opportunity to teach about the Holocaust in a way that remembers that awful time, but also gives hope that future generations will learn to be more understanding and respectful of others. Judging from the feedback we have received from our students, telling of their commitment to make the world a better place, I am very hopeful that our goals of The Butterfly Project are being achieved.
In many ways, The Butterfly Project has given me the opportunity to pay my respects to those who perished in the Holocaust and to honor the Survivors.
Children of Holocaust survivors are often referred to as ‘Second Generation.’ The Second Generation community has been somewhat hesitant to be the ones to share their parents’ stories, wanting to be respectful of the fact that the best people to tell of these experiences are the ones who have been directly affected by them.
Survivors numbers are dwindling because of their advancing ages. Most are unable to visit classrooms to tell of their experiences during the Holocaust. So, it becomes the responsibility of Second Generation to be the teachers about this horrific time in our family’s history. Why? So that dehumanization and mass murder will never happen again to any people.
It is my sincere hope that Second Generations everywhere will support the use of The Butterfly Project in classrooms in their communities as a way to keep the memory of their parents alive – – to have those who participate in the project remember the past, act responsibly in the present, in order to create a more peaceful future.
Jan graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Special and Elementary Education and taught emotionally disturbed children in a suburb of Detroit for three years before moving to San Diego. At San Diego State University, Jan earned California teaching credentials in Special and Elementary Education.