Two days ago I gave into emotions I felt after reading a blogger’s request to remember the Holocaust victims by posting yellow butterflies – specifically on April 28. I posted part of his request, which included a poem written by such a victim, about a yellow butterfly he had watched, the last one he had seen in the ghetto.
I did so with the thought of keeping that memory alive, since it has been under attack in recent years and it appeared to me that people have forgotten.
Foolishness on my part!! I should have researched then, and not responded with emotion. That’s been my methodology when it came to my Bible reading. Instead, it was a reader who brought truth to my attention. Oh, my!! I’ve failed to follow my own advice. I need to check and see how many times I’ve posted from Acts 17:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)
Was what I posted true? There was no untruth in the original post, just missing information. The victims are not forgotten. There are several Holocaust memorial dates (listed here), though none are on April 28. The Israeli and many Jewish communities’ memorial day is 27 Nisan, which this year falls on Sunday, 1 May, according to a Hebrew calendar here. That day is Yom HaShoa, or Yom HaZikaron LaShoah velaGvura – Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day. The United Nations set 27 January in a 2005 resolution. Other countries have joined in. France remembers on 16 July, the anniversary of a mass arrest of Jews in Paris on that date in 1942. The United States remembers for an eight-day period, from the Sunday before Yom HaShoa to the following Sunday as Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust.
So, our governments have not forgotten, completely, but many of the people have. I am abashed by my own lack of knowledge, and the ease with which I so quickly responded emotionally rather than with research. I wish I could plead a case for myself, but the error was mine alone.
Bottom line – choose how you will remember, but consider taking Yom HaShoa seriously and consider the years it took before the world faced those victims.
A bit more about the poem’s title, too. From Random House's page for "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" by Hana Volavkova:
"Fifteen thousand children under the age of fifteen passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp. Fewer than 100 survived. In these poems and pictures drawn by the young inmates, we see the daily misery of these uprooted children, as well as their hopes and fears, their courage and optimism. 60 color illustrations."
The Facebook page WWCHS - I Never Saw Another Butterfly is "a group for everyone who is involved with Westwood's production of Celeste Raspanti's one-act play, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly"." The page explains that the play is based on a true story:
'It is a true story about the life of the girl, Raja Englanderova, who survived Terezin. The play is a series of flashbacks in which Raja retells each segment of her life in Terezin, starting from when she first arrived at Terezin as a scared child and ending with a collage of voices in her memory.'"
The explanation continues:
"From 1942 to 1945 over 15,000 Jewish children passed through Terezin, a former military garrison set up as a ghetto. It soon became a station, a stopping-off place, for hundreds of thousands on their way to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. When Terezin was liberated in May, 1945, only about one hundred children were alive to return to what was left of their lives, their homes, and families. The story of those years at Terezin remains in drawings and poems collected and published in the book, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly"."