Stage, film, radio and TV actor Samuel Barnett is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day with a reading of the famous poem The Butterfly by Pavel Friedmann, who wrote it in the summer of 1942 while imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what was then Czechoslovakia. Friedmann did not see the end of the war as he was later transported to and murdered at Auschwitz. The poem was written on a thin piece of copy paper and was later found after the liberation of Theresienstadt.

The recording is available for you to play at your HMD commemoration events, school assemblies and lessons.

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 goodbye.

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

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

By Pavel Friedmann