According to sculptor, Rick Wienecke, “This sculpture was born out of a piece of music entitled "Oratorio Terezin." The oratorio was inspired by the book of children's poetry from the Holocaust, I never saw another butterfly.”
“The child is leaning against the inside of the crematorium door in a fetal position, totally abandoned. On the other side can be seen a replica of the oven doors from Auschwitz, where the majority of the children from Terezin were killed. From this view the arm of the child is seen penetrating the closed door and clutching a small piece of ground, representing the land of Israel. The hand of the child is longing to possess the land which becomes the butterfly that the child never saw. The ground is covered with olive leaves, symbolizing the oil that brings healing and anointing, depicting the beginning of the Resurrection.”
Wienecke is recreating this same sculpture for the Horn Lake Middle School Unknown Child Pennies Project. The new sculpture will be named, “The Unknown Child,” the name used by the students from the project’s inception.
About the Artist
Rick Wienecke was born and raised in Canada. In 1976, out of a place of desperation, he began searching for God. Wienecke is not Jewish but found himself drawn to the land of Israel. He was fascinated with Israel’s rise out of the ashes of the Holocaust. He began asking himself, “How could these people have survived such devastation, and not only survived, but three years later declare themselves a nation?” Wienecke began to think that if there is a God, He must have something to do with the Jews.
Wienecke traveled to Israel in 1977 with the intention of working on a kibbutz for six months. Those six months stretched into seven years. During that time he became a believer in Jesus, miraculously was given Israeli residency, joined the Israeli army and fought in the first Lebanon war. Wienecke’s language in sculpting was also birthed during his time on the kibbutz. He started wood carving and learned to work with stone and bronze. Wienecke has now been in Israel over thirty years. Wienecke says that his three deepest places of relationship were brought to life during his kibbutz years: faith in Jesus, connection with the land and the people of Israel and his wife, Dafna. Wienecke also says that his sculpting is like processing through prayer – somehow touching something heavenly and then trying to bring it to earth in three dimensions.
Wienecke has created many pieces around the world, his largest work being a sculpted stone wall sixty feet long and eleven feet high with ten life‐sized bronze figures. It is a dialogue of suffering between the Holocaust and the crucifixion. Wienecke describes it as a prayer touched by tears, memory and hope.
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Did you know? A single penny weighs about 2.5 grams. But 1.5 million pennies weigh over 4 tons!!