2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps at the end of WWII. To commemorate this, a special program has been created involving organizations all over SWFL. In many cultures, the butterfly represents a symbol of rebirth and hope. The butterfly also played a prominent role in the 1942 poem The Butterfly, written by prisoner Pavel Friedmann in the Theresienstadt camp.

We invite you to learn more about this project and participate in its year-long series of programs and events. The project will begin with the commemoration of Kristallnacht in November 2019 and run throughout the year. Programming will include speakers, films, musical programs, displays and art exhibits.

The Butterflies of Hope and Remembrance project is a year-long initiative throughout Southwest Florida comprised of special events and educational programs commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII and the Liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps. Special programs will commemorate these events and promote human rights and Holocaust and genocide education.

At the same time that the world is losing its World War II veterans, liberators and Holocaust survivors, there is a resurgence of antisemitism and white nationalist groups that spread their insidious hatred. Thus, it is increasingly important to continue to educate our youth about this period and to foster the critical thinking required to differentiate between fact and fiction. By remembering the past, the goal is to inform and inspire individuals to combat hate in all forms and work to create a more tolerant, respectful, kinder and peaceful world for all humankind.

The title of this project was inspired by a poem entitled “The Butterfly” written in 1942 by Pavel Friedmann while he was imprisoned in Theresienstadt concentration camp. (Friedmann’s poem can be found online and in the book “… I Never Saw Another Butterfly…”.) Friedmann was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where he perished. In many cultures, butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life and rebirth. Around the world, butterflies represent the wonder of nature, endurance, change, life, freedom, transformation and hope.

Throughout 2019-2020, many groups in SWFL will be working with community partners, schools, teachers, libraries, universities and faith-based organizations to support and participate in programming for this year-long initiative. The project will begin with the commemoration of Kristallnacht in November 2019 and run throughout the year. Programming will include speakers, films, musical programs, displays and art exhibits.

For more information, to volunteer and/or to receive an e-newsletter which includes events for the Butterflies of Hope and Remembrance initiative, please e-mail genshoahswfl@gmail.com.

Events will also be posted at www.HolocaustMuseumSWFL.org.

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