Not to be Missed: Esther Krinitz’ “Fabrics of Survival”

The late Esther Krinitz was a Holocaust survivor from a small Polish village. Most of her family was killed, but she wound up in the United States, where she married and raised a family.

She wanted her family to know her history, but writing was not her forte. She also had never been an artist. But she was an accomplished seamstress and dress maker, and decided to try to tell her story in fabric.

She composed over 30 fabric drawings showing her childhood in her Polish village, and what happened when the Nazis arrived. Each one is extraordinary – you cannot say that one is better, or worse, than any other. Each is colorful, cartoon/primitive in appeal, and informative, capturing the flavor of the incident being displayed. In each painting there is a story line, stitched, letter by letter, in clear English.

Ms. Krinitz passed away before completing her story. But she has left quite a legacy. And you can see it, in part, at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda, off Rockville Pike just beyond the Beltway, through the month of April.

Only ten or so of the fabric works are on display. There have been other, complete exhibitions, and according to what I see, the entire series will be shown in California beginning in June. But the limited number on the walls of Strathmore should not make you hesitate. And, there is a beautiful book showing all of these works of art for sale; I suggest you purchase it.

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