Students use butterfly art to remember the millions of children who died in the Holocaust
In the midst of the Jewish High Holidays this week, there has also been a recent rash of anti-Semitic attacks across the county.
On Wednesday, students at the La Jolla Country Day School paused their regular classwork to be part of the Butterfly Project. The project uses art to remember the 1.5 million children and millions of others killed in the Holocaust. It has gained international attention.
Classmates from pre-K to 12th grade worked together to paint ceramic butterflies that will be permanently displayed around campus.
Olivia Luddy is a La Jolla Country Day senior who helped younger students paint their butterflies, which each represent a child that died.
“Some of them were as young as six months old and really just got their future taken from them. So, it’s all about honoring them and putting their life in color again and being able to hold something that really reimagines one of these kids," Luddy said.
Eighth-grader Gia Gupta worked with third-grader Eva Liuget. They dedicated their artwork to Asher Rosenbaum and his short life. According to research provided to students by The Remember Us Project, there is no record of his age or the date he died in a Nazi concentration camp.
“I think it was cut short. Before he could really … well … in a way … get out of his cocoon," Gupta said.
Liuget was very intentional about the color scheme she used for her butterfly.
“Red means love, and I love the color red. And blue means if somebody’s sad you can lift them up and make them happy," said Liuget.
Besides the butterfly art, students also attended a concert presented in the school amphitheater. It's not far from a permanent artistic butterfly garden on campus that school officials said often attracts the real butterflies.
The Butterfly Project also includes historical testimony. Ben Midler, 95, is a Holocaust survivor who came to share his story with students on Wednesday. He told the students about being sent to six different concentration camps. When he left, his family was hiding in their home in Poland.
“I know and I thought my family was left in the hiding place. (I hoped) maybe they would still be alive, and that gave me the strength to do anything in my power just to stay alive," Midler said.
Unfortunately, when Midler was finally liberated from his last concentration camp in 1945, he returned home to Poland to discover the rest of his family had been killed.
Speaking to the entire 1,180-member student body, Midler left them with a message of encouragement: "I stay positive, and I live for tomorrow. My motto is 'Yesterday is gone, today is today, and tomorrow will be better."