Memories of Survival by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz and Bernice Steinhardt (Art & Remembrance)

This stunning collection of fabric and embroidered panels depicts Esther Nisenthal Krinitz’s remarkable journey of living through the Holocaust in Poland. At the age of fifteen, she and her thirteen-year-old sister separated from their family and went into hiding, assuming the identities of Catholic farmgirls. Though untrained as an artist but a skilled seamstress, Esther picked up needle and thread forty years later to retell her childhood memories. At once naïve and infinitely complex, these images reveal both the extreme horrors of war, and the cherished family memories shared before the war began. Told in Esther’s own words, with commentary written by her daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, this is an unforgettable look back to a time and events that must never be forgotten.

Bernice Steinhardt is the President of Art and Remembrance, a non-profit arts and educational organization. In founding Art and Remembrance, Bernice and her sister, Helene McQuade, were inspired by the art and story of their mother, Esther Nisenthal Krinitz, a Holocaust survivor who depicted her experiences as a young girl in Poland in a series of 36 fabric and embroidered tapestries, each with stitched narrative captions. Recognizing the power of their mother’s art, they created Art and Remembrance as a testament to their mother’s legacy and a means to share her work and those of others who depicted their experiences as victims of war, oppression and injustice.  Since its founding in 2003, the organization has created a traveling exhibit of Esther Krinitz's art, which has traveled to close to two dozen museums in the U.S., produced an award-winning film, “Through the Eye of the Needle,” and published the book, Memories of Survival.

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz was 15 when she defied Nazi orders, separating from her family as they and the other Jews of their Polish village reported to a nearby train station. Making their way to a village where they were unknown, Esther and her younger sister survived the war by posing as Polish farm girls. They never saw their family again.

At the end of the war, Esther and her sister traveled to a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, where she met and married Max Krinitz. In 1949, along with their baby daughter, Bernice, they immigrated to the United States, living first in Brooklyn, New York, and later in Frederick MD.

Unlike many Holocaust survivors, Esther always shared with her daughters the memories of her life during the war. But when she was 50, she decided she wanted them to see her home and family. Although untrained as an artist, she was an accomplished seamstress. Picking up needle and thread, Esther went on to create a series of 36 exquisitely detailed works of fabric collage and embroidery.

In 1999, after a long illness, she died at the age of 74.  

Event date: 
Saturday, March 7, 2020 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Memories of Survival Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780786851263
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hyperion - October 15th, 2005