January 24, 2023
KO Student Organizes Event for Holocaust Remembrance
As a West Hartford Youth Council board member, Jack Gold ’23 is always searching for ways to activate student engagement. When he heard about the Butterfly Project through his connections at the JCC, he knew it was worthwhile for Kingswood Oxford and other local schools to participate.
According to their website, The Butterfly Project is “a call to action through education, the arts and memorial making. We teach social justice through lessons of the Holocaust, educating particp[ants about the dangers of hatred and bigotry to cultivate empathy and social responsibility.” Students paint ceramic butterflies representing the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. Each local school received 25 butterflies to paint; the butterflies will be displayed at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford.
Gold organized the butterfly painting project with his advisee group, members of his baseball team, and some Middle School students. Before painting the butterflies, the group watched an educational video and was given a pamphlet explaining the mission. As a third-generation Holocaust survivor, Gold understands the importance of education on the topic. “As more people learn about the Holocaust and know about it, we can prevent this from happening again. That goes for all genocides. I believe that some world leaders are turning a blind eye to it and kicking the story under the rug,” he said.
Gold’s family was prosperous department store owners in Germany in the 1930s who saw the rise of creeping bigotry and alarming decrees against Jewish people. When his great-grandmother on his father’s side was 12, the family fled Germany in 1936, some arriving in New Haven and the other half of the family heading to Sao Paulo.
“As the descendent of a Holocaust survivor, it was very powerful and important to me to spearhead this project,” Gold said.