The Schools of Philadelphia, Foundation Partner of the Holocaust Art Program

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation works with the city to provide continuing education courses related to the Holocaust for teachers in the Philadelphia school district.

On Friday, they partnered with a Washington, D.C. organization to offer a unique virtual Holocaust art program for middle school educators to help teach Holocaust lessons through the story of a survivor and her works.

The partnership with Art and memory tells the true story of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz, who lived under Nazi occupation from the age of 12.

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz.

Photo credit Art and memory.

“All my life, my mother has always spoken about her experiences,” said Bernice Steinhardt, Krinitz’s daughter and co-founder of Art and memory.

“For her, it was a very important part of her way of comforting herself, of trying to make sense of what had happened and the consequences, of her way of staying connected to the family she loved and had. lost.”

Then, at the age of 50, Steinhardt said her mother decided she wanted to put pictures to these stories.

“She had never been trained as an artist,” Steinhardt said.

“She never considered herself an artist, but she could sew anything.”

In her 50s and 60s, Krinitz embroidered dozens of images intended only for her children.

“But when I saw what she was doing one after the other and it was a series, I realized it had to come out into the world,” Steinhardt said.

“The way this story is shared through embroidery and tapestry, it’s just something students don’t know about,” said Eszter Kutas with the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation.

Steinhart explained that part of her mother’s story, told through the art of embroidery, concerns Jews in her town in central Poland who were ordered to march to a train station.

“My mom refused to go,” Steinhart said. “She took her 13-year-old sister, and so both of them said goodbye to their families and they never saw them again.”

Kutas added that incorporating art into lessons about the Holocaust adds another layer of education and gives teachers an additional way to teach this difficult but necessary material.

“By bringing more and more visual arts-based resources, we can reach students at a younger age with this content that I find critically important,” Kutas said.

“What I hope is that it increases their empathy for what happened during the Holocaust. It’s very relevant content because they’re the same age as when Esther’s story ( Nisenthal Krinitz), through embroidery, begins.”

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Kayleen C. Rice