Documentary highlights efforts to memorialize 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust |
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Patrick Varine

Children at more than 20 libraries in western Pennsylvania spent a small portion of their summer painting ceramic butterflies as part of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh’s participation in the Butterfly Project, whose goal is to paint a butterfly to represent each of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust during World War II.

And like the so-called “butterfly effect” — where a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world sets off a chain reaction leading to a hurricane in another — those children will have a chance to see how their small contribution is part of a much larger whole when Holocaust Center officials screen “Not the Last Butterfly,” a documentary about the project, on Aug. 25 and 26.

The Butterfly Project was founded in 2006 by educators and artists at the San Diego Jewish Academy as a new way of teaching about the Holocaust while encouraging children to make the world a better place. It was inspired by the book “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” a collection of art and poetry created by children imprisoned and killed in the Terezin/Theresienstadt concentration camp.

The project started in Pittsburgh in 2016 as an event with survivors and their families, then last year the Holocaust Center expanded the program to schools and organizations in the area, painting more than 800 butterflies.

Screenings will take place at 8:15 and 9:45 p.m., Aug. 25 at the center, 826 Hazelwood Avenue in Pittsburgh, and at 1 p.m., Aug. 26 at the Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Road in Dormont.

Cheryl Rattner Price, founder and director of the Butterfly Project, will be on hand at all of the screenings for a Q&A discussion following the documentary.

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Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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