Memories of Survival

by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz and Bernice Steinhardt

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz was a Jewish girl living in Poland when the Nazis invaded... read more

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz was a Jewish girl living in Poland when the Nazis invaded her country. She and her sister were able to go into hiding, but not before they witnessed terrible brutality. They spent the duration of the war posing as Polish Catholics, always in danger in being discovered. No one else in their family survived. After the war, Esther came to America. At the age of fifty, she began to embroider scenes that illustrated the stories about her childhood and the war, which she had been telling her two daughters for as long as they could remember. She eventually created 36 panels of astonishing depth and detail, often including a brief narrative to describe the scene. Esther’s embroideries and words are the heart and soul of this extraordinary book. They begin with her pastoral childhood and move through the harrowing events of the war, ending with an image of Esther, her husband, and baby daughter standing on a ship in front of the Statue of Liberty. Esther was an untrained artist with an eye for composition and a commitment to honoring memory, giving her work both beauty and great emotional weight. Esther’s daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, provides an introduction to her mother’s life and work as well as an additional narrative to accompany each scene. (Ages 10–18)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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