Through the Eye of the Needle: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz

Through the Eye of the Needle: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 1:00pm - 1:30pm

In uniquely beautiful stitched images, a Holocaust survivor vividly recounts her uplifting life story.

Through  Holocaust survivor Esther Nisenthal Krinitz's own words and images of her art work, as well as interviews with her daughters and others, this award-winning 30-minute film explores the capacity of the human heart to heal. Through these reflections, we are reminded that genocide and other acts of baseless hatred are still with us, and that Esther’s story, and those like hers, compels us to build a just and peaceful world for all. Through the Eye of the Needle: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz airs Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 1:00 p.m on WXXI-TV.  The film also airs on WXXI-WORLD (DT21.2/cable 1275) Saturday, August 11 at 10 p.m. and Sunday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m. Please note:  See Esther's work in person when Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nishenthal Krinitz opens at the Memorial Art Gallery on Friday, August 17 and runs throught December 2, 2018. 

Esther Nisenthal was 15 years old in October of 1942 when the Jews of her tiny village in Poland were ordered by the Nazis to report to a nearby train station. Anyone remaining in their home would be shot. Esther refused to go, begging her parents for the name of “someone, a Gentile, anyone” who would take her in. Hearing the name “Stefan” she prepares to leave. Kissing her family goodbye, she departs with her 13 year-old sister Mania, never to see her other loved ones again. Unable to stay with Stefan, Esther invents new identities for herself and Mania — now Polish Catholic farm girls–as they hide in plain sight from the Nazis.

Esther’s story of survival is remarkable on its own. But it is all the more extraordinary because of her method of storytelling–stitching and embroidering. It comes to us with unexpected beauty in a series of 36 large fabric collages, intricately embroidered in vivid color, created more than 40 years after the war. They depict one young girl’s eyewitness account, scenes of tragedy and trauma juxtaposed with the exquisite beauty of the natural surroundings. It is as if nothing escaped Esther’s attention, or her memory.