pavel friedmann

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.

—  Pavel Friedmann, The Butterfly
He was the last. Truly the last.
Such yellowness was bitter and blinding
Like the sun’s tear shattered on stone.
That was his true colour.
And how easily he climbed, and how high,
Certainly, climbing, he wanted
To kiss the last of my world.
I have been here seven weeks,
Who loved me have found me,
Daisies call to me,
And the branches also of the white chestnut in the yard.
But I haven’t seen a butterfly here.
That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto.

The Butterfly

Pavel Friedmann, Theresienstadt, 4 June 1942