04 Aug Butterfly Boy Bronze Statue Unveiled at Jane Bancroft Cook Library

(February 1, 2010)  On Thursday afternoon, January 28, a large and reverent group gathered in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College of Florida to witness the unveiling of the bronze statue, “Butterfly Boy” by sculptor Sidney Fagin.  Commemorating the children lost in the Holocaust, the 42 inch-high statue was installed outside the entrance to the Dr. Helen H. Fagin Holocaust, Genocide and Humanitarian Studies Collection room at the library.

The name of the sculpture, “Butterfly Boy,” was inspired by a 1942 poem written by young Pavel Friedmann during his incarceration in the Terezin Concentration Camp, prior to his deportation to Auschwitz and his ultimate death at the hands of the Nazis. “The last, the very last; So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow,” he wrote.  “….that butterfly was the last one.  Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.”  In the sculpture, a delicate golden butterfly rests lightly on the boy’s outstretched hands. On his chest is a yellow Star of David.

The event was sponsored by the New College Library Association, which raises funds to support the Cook Library, a shared resource of New College and the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.

Brian Doherty, Sidney Fagin, Rick Frignoca, Helen Fagin Sidney Fagin worked on the sculpture in clay for many months, refining it in preparation for its bronzing by the Bronzart Foundry, which made a generous contribution toward making the statue a reality, as did many other members of the community. Bronzart Foundry owner and master craftsman Rick Frignoca served as a guiding light for Sidney Fagin in the months leading up to its final patination. Frignoca helped with the armature and even researched the exact kind of butterfly that would have lived in the Czech countryside at that time.

“I feel great pride that New College paid me the honor of accepting this sculpture as an addition to the Helen Fagin Holocaust Collection,” says Sidney Fagin.  “It is a token of sharing in our commitment to raising awareness in moral humanitarian values.”

The program was introduced by Brian Doherty, Dean of the Cook Library, followed by remarks by Helen Fagin.  After thanking New College, supporters Sally Lucke-Elkes and Joel Elkes, Martin and Barbara Arch, Martin and Arlene Rakitt and Rick Frignoca, Helen turned to her husband of 61 years.

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