Today I went to a Holocaust museum with my lovely cast of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”. My eyes were opened to a lot today but I want to share with you the story of the character I’m portraying. Raja Englanderova (pictured above) went to Terezin, a transit camp, outside of Prague at the age of 13 in 1942. The nazis boasted that Terezin was a place of high culture. Many artists, musicians, actors, singers, and writers were held there before going to Auschwitz. Raja was a wonderful artist for one so young and she helped the other children paint and write poetry. Teachers in Terezin buried the children’s work in hopes that someone would survive and recover the art. You can image the creativity that poured out from these talented people who desperately tried to get their thoughts and ideas out before they were lost forever.
When the international Red Cross came to check on the nazis Terezin was used as a model. Mass deportations took place and fresh faces were brought in. Gardens were planted and concerts took place. The Red Cross was fooled by this show and left the nazis to resume. Deportations then continued as normal.
In 1944 Raja was sent to Auschwitz and miraculously survived and was liberated. She returned to Prague and was able to unearth the children’s poetry and drawings. These young lives, though lost, are not unheard. The works are in the book “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” and Raja’s art can be seen in the national Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.
"I found my people here. The dandelions call to me and the white chestnut candles in the court"
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