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The Butterfly Project
recipients: Donna Tarney, Charlotte Catholic High School, North Carolina
date: 2018

My Sophomore World History classes spent the morning at the Levine Jewish Community Center participating in the Butterfly Project. This project began with a brief exploration of the ADL’s Pyramid of Hate as it applied to the events leading up to the Holocaust and how the behaviors on the pyramid exist in the lives of the students today. Next the students heard from a local Holocaust survivor and had the opportunity to ask questions. Each student then received the name of a Jewish child who was killed during the Shoah. The students spoke the name out loud and painted a ceramic butterfly to physically memorialize their child.

This day left my students deeply moved. Hearing from Irving Bienstock, the Holocaust survivor, brought several students to tears. They were amazed at how hatefully he was treated by youth and adults in Germany just because he was Jewish. We discussed how they can change their own discriminatory behavior and step up to protect other young people who are targeted today. We planned ways to act that will make our communities safe for everyone.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)