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I Never Saw Another Butterfly (Grade 6)

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I Never Saw Another Butterfly

Instructions: The Holocaust was the systematic murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War Two. A million and a half children were among those killed including the young prisoners of TerezĂ­n concentration camp. One of those children, Pavel Friedmann, wrote this poem while in confinement. He was killed at Auschwitz in 1944.

Read the poem, and answer the questions.

The Butterfly

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
against a white stone.

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live here,
in the ghetto.

What experiences do you think were the source of this poem?

How does this poem make you feel?

What kind of a person do you think Pavel Friedmann was, and what does the poem tell you about him?

If Pavel Friedmann had survived, and you met him today, what questions would you want to ask him?

What do you think the butterfly represents, and why do you think that?

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