The Holocaust Butterfly Project

An ambitious project has fourth graders at F.E. Bellows soaring. They are creating butterflies representing the 1.5 million children murdered during the genocide. “The idea is that the students will remember the life of a child who died, and set it free,” explained teacher Kathie Offner, whose parents were Holocaust survivors.  

schools bellows
Published March 21, 2012 6:43 PM
2 min read

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schools bellowsAn ambitious project has fourth graders at F.E. Bellows soaring. They are creating butterflies representing the 1.5 million children murdered during the genocide. “The idea is that the students will remember the life of a child who died, and set it free,” explained teacher Kathie Offner, whose parents were Holocaust survivors.

 

 

 By Janice Llanes Fabry

 

schools bellowsAn ambitious project has fourth graders at F.E. Bellows soaring. They are creating butterflies representing the 1.5 million children murdered during the genocide. “The idea is that the students will remember the life of a child who died, and set it free,” explained teacher Kathie Offner, whose parents were Holocaust survivors.

 

Ms. Offner and her class have the support of the entire school. Faculty members have donated crocheted and raffia butterflies, as well as cut-out paper versions with photographs of family members who survived the Holocaust pasted on to them.

 

The class also enlisted the help of an elementary school in Tennessee during a videoconference session March 9. The Whitwell School gained worldwide attention with their Paper Clips Project, a collection of 11,000,000 paper clips representing all the Holocaust victims.

 

“Their project helped us offshoot with the Butterfly Project,” said Ms. Offner. Another inspiration for her was “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”, a collection of poems and drawings by children who were incarcerated in the Terezin concentration camp.

 

During the videoconference, facilitated by library teacher William McKeon and attended by Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum, Whitwell eighth graders answered questions prepared by Bellows fourth graders and took them on a tour of the Children’s Holocaust Memorial they created.

 

While Bellows students were impressed by the authentic Nazi rail car that houses the paperclips, their Whitwell counterparts were amazed by Rye Neck’s diversity, particularly Ms. Offner’s family history.

 

“These projects were born out of children’s interests and efforts. It’s remarkable what all of you have done,” praised Ms. Offner. “Let’s keep the connection between your school and ours and tap into each other’s resources.”

 

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