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Memories of Survival Hardcover – April 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Art and Remembrance; 2nd edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061535727X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615357270
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 9.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6-9–Krinitz tells the story of her childhood in a small Polish village through a series of hand-stitched embroidered panels and captions. Done in various needlework techniques, different styles of embroidery, and fabric collage, the 34 panels depict with astonishing detail and complexity her childhood home and family before World War II, the Nazi invasion of her village, and the forced labor and death camps. They also show her escape and life in hiding, the end of the war, her visit to the Maidanek concentration camp where her family was likely exterminated, and her journey to America. Commentary by her daughter accompanies each image and provides additional details and background information. Aspects of Jewish culture, rituals, and holidays are prominently featured along with a strong sense of setting and season. The intricate, multifaceted artwork uniquely illustrates the horrors of the Holocaust alongside the natural beauty of Krinitz's surroundings, and the cherished relationships that she shared with her family. A detailed introduction, table of contents, and afterword are included.–Rachel Kamin, Temple Israel Libraries & Media Center, West Bloomfield, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. During the many years before her death in 2000, Krinitz set down the story of her Holocaust survival in a series of 36 exquisite, hand-embroidered fabric collages and hand-stitched narrative captions. For this picture-book presentation, Steinhardt, Krinitz's daughter, reproduced those panels, adding eloquent commentary to fill in the facts and the history. The first panels show Esther, 10, with her loving family in a small Polish village in 1937 before the Nazis come. The soldiers arrive in 1939^B. When Esther is 15, they take her family away, and she never sees them again. She and her sister survive by hiding in the woods, and then, disguised as Polish Catholic farm girls, are taken in by a kind farmer. After the Russians come, Esther sees the death camps. The telling is quiet, and the hand-stitched pictures are incredibly detailed, with depth and color that will make readers look closely, whether at a scene of the communal baking before the war, a line of refugees and prisoners, or a picture of giant cabbages growing on human ashes in a corner of the death camps. Connect this to Jacqueline Woodson's Show Way (2005), about the quilts sewn by African American women from slavery times through today. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz was a survivor of the Holocaust in Poland. In October 1942, after living under Nazi occupation for 3 years, the Jews of the village of Mniszek were ordered to report to the nearby train station for "relocation." The 15-year old Esther decided she would not go but would instead take her 13-year old sister Mania and look for work among Polish farmers.

Turned away by Polish friends and neighbors, the sisters assumed new names and evaded the Gestapo, pretending to be Catholic farm girls. They never saw their family again. After the war ended, the two sisters made their way to a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, where Esther met and married Max Krinitz. In 1949, Esther, Max, and their daughter immigrated to the United States. Esther died at the age of 74, in March 2001, after a long illness.

In 1977, at the age of 50, Esther Nisenthal Krinitz began creating works of fabric art to tell her story of survival during the Holocaust. Trained as a dressmaker but untrained in art, she created a collection of 36 fabric pictures of strong, vivid colors and striking details with a sense of folk-like realism. Meticulously stitched words beneath the pictures provide a narrative.

The combined effect of story and art is powerful. While the pictures are visually pleasing, a closer examination reveals the shocking incongruity between the pastoral surroundings and the human violence, terror and betrayal depicted. Tom Freudenheim, former director of the Berlin Jewish Museum, wrote: "These extraordinary pictures are very moving, but not in least bit sentimental. The compositional concepts are highly sophisticated. I was overwhelmed by what I saw."

Art and Remembrance has created a traveling exhibit of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz's work that is now touring museums in the United States, and in the future hopes to bring to Poland, Israel and other countries that share the legacy of the Holocaust. Information about the exhibit and educational materials for teaching younger generations about the Holocaust and the lessons of courage, tolerance and faith to be learned from Esther's experiences can be found at www.artandremembrance.org

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I first found this book at my local library and wanted a copy of my own.
Jennifer S. Shields
The photographs of the quilts are very clear and the layout is exactly as the story is depicted in the exhibit.
Rosalind Chasman
Every stitch, intentionally placed, tells Esther's amazing story of survival.
Jan Nelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book at the school where I teach on the advice of our librarian and I am so very glad I did! The stories woven in the embroidered panels speak volumes about what Esther Nisenthal and her family endured during the horror of the Holocaust. Her use of color is astonishing, and the fact that she actually embroidered the words to her story onto the cloths just makes the whole experience seem so much more real and personal. This book is a moving tribute to all who perished and survived this evil time. This is an amazing book. Highly, highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven Katz on December 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Memories of Survival reveals the truth in the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and for the first time the history of the Holocaust makes the leap from memory to life in the hand stitched and embroidered tapestries of Holocaust survivor Esther Nisenthal Krinitz.

Having also seen the original artwork that is presented in this beautiful book I can attest that the pictures and stories touch the reader, whether child or adult. The book lovingly enables you to feel that you are remembering the human realities that Esther Nisenthal Krinitz experienced as a child and that she later stitched to life to tell her story to her family, and now shares with the world.

Memories of Survival has a place in every home.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Evans on December 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Memories of Survival", helped me more fully grasp the Holocost through the untutored art of survivor Esther Nisenthal Krinitz. I saw "Memories" when it was on exhibit at the American Museum of Visionary Art in Baltimore, Maryland in the spring of 2005. Mrs. Krinitz's beguiling needlework enabled me to absorb the impact of Nazism on a level hitherto unavailable to me. Her artful pictures and their simple text informed me on what I had been afraid to imagine. I've purchased 4 copies of Memories of Survival", 3 to give as gifts, and one to keep.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this outstanding book are displayed thirty-six embroidered pictures that the author began at the age of fifty, to illustrate the stories of her childhood in Poland and her survival during the Holocaust. When she died at the age of seventy-four, she wasn't finished, but she left this remarkable book. Her daughter Bernice used her mother's comments to write the text. It is amazing how much Esther remembered, which is evidenced in the intricate details and vibrant colors of the needlework. Each full-page picture is framed in a different color, with Esther's comments under it and the text on the opposite page. The deceptively simple pictures have the look of folk art in contrast to a grimly realistic story. At the end, there is a poignant page titled "To Germany," where Esther has joined the Polish Army in March 1945 and she shows us in it what she remembers so many years later: seeing Nazi officers hanging from every tree as they passed along the road of an earlier battle with the Russians on their way to Berlin. The last frame shows Esther landing at Ellis Island, viewing the Statue of Liberty. She was very excited, because she felt that this meant she would never again be persecuted for being Jewish. Her daughter Bernice calls this a memorial to her mother's family, because of them all, only Esther and a sister survived the war. Esther's daughters Bernice and her sister have founded a nonprofit educational organization called Art and Remembrance, which is dedicated to using the power of story and art to illuminate the effects of war, intolerance, and social injustice. This book is highly recommended for all collections, as Esther's story brings these terrible times alive in a way that adds a different dimension to children's understanding of the Holocaust. For ages 12 - adult.

Reviewed by Andrea Davidson
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Schumaker on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw the panels on which this book is based at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and wished at the time that there was a book. When it came out I made a special effort to get it. Esther Krinitz spent years creating these works of art to illustrate the story of her experience, and the combination of her drive to communicate with her obvious enjoyment of creating surely makes hers a uniquely life-affirming voice recounting the terrible tragedy faced by her family and beyond them, her people, her country, and all humankind. For young people, the details are both strange and familiar, commonplace and unthinkable. They will relate to the young woman's independent streak as well as her affection for her family and grief at losing almost all of them. I look forward to sharing it with the young people in my life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rosalind Chasman on November 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After viewing the quilts that Esther Nisenthal Krinitz created at the Oceanside Art Gallery in Oceanside Ca, I was so moved, that I wanted to have something to reflect on.

This book satisfies my need. The photographs of the quilts are very clear and the layout is exactly as the story is depicted in the exhibit. The quilts depict the life experiences of Mrs. Krinitz during the holocaust when she was a young girl. The story begins in Poland and it tells of her tenacity for survival. Esther's sister Mania survived the holocaust as well, but all he rest of her family was murdered by the Nazis.

There are 34 quilts displayed. The exhibit has been traveling to Art Musuems throughout the United States Each quilt has an embroided legend so you can follow her travils from 1937 where she lived an innocent idylic farm girl life
to 1939 (when she was 12 years old)and the Nazis arrived in her town. It ends with a tree in Brooklyn and her standing with her granddaughter.

All of the quilts were done after she arrived in the United States and although she had no art education, she captures your heart and mind. She felt that this was her legacy to her children and grandchildren.

I highly recommend the book even i
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