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The lessons from Esther’s art and story are immediate and understandable, nurturing empathy and courage, while her art brings the Holocaust to life in a markedly different way than the black-and-white photos more typical of the period. Drawing from Esther’s art and story, free educational materials offer students a way to comprehend the perseverance of a young girl within the context of historical events, using the Holocaust as the primary content. They are designed for grades 5 – 12. The lessons build essential skills for critical thinking, understanding primary resources, contextualizing current events, appreciating the importance of storytelling, and engaging young people in active participation in their community.

Two types of lessons are provided, along with fillable PDF graphic organizers and reference documents:

  1. Fully standards-aligned traditional lesson plans (PDFs)

  2. Online, interactive, multi-media Sutoris


The lessons address five core themes:

  1. Social Studies and History

  2. English Language Arts

  3. Art Appreciation and Art Integration

  4. Social Justice and Civic Engagement

  5. Jewish Studies

See FAQ for descriptions and the Guide to Using Lesson Plans

For inspiration, please view students' works from previous programs

We welcome your feedback

Children Escaping War and Conflict

Students learn to analyze basic human needs, draw similarities between survival stories, and apply their learning to current and contemporary events.


Social Justice and Human Rights

Teach about the underlying principles of freedom, equality, fairness and justice

Esther in Her Own Words and Images: Artwork and Testimony as a Primary Source

Teach how to use first person accounts, primary and secondary sources and artifacts while following Esther’s journey and exploring the Holocaust.


World War II in Poland

Enrich student learning about the history of Poland and Jews in Poland before, during and after World War II through the use of timelines.

Upstanders, Bystanders, and Victims

By analyzing the artwork of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz as a primary source, students will learn about World War II and address the moral dimensions of the Holocaust and bullying.


Unsung Heroes

A four-part lesson with extensions teaching how to use evidence-based argument to answer the question: “What makes an unsung hero?”

Story Cloths

How story cloths present first person accounts, preserve culture and traditions, and speak up for social justice.


Jewish Concepts and Values

This lesson will address three Jewish concepts:

  • Welcoming the Stranger

  • Peace in the House

  • Jewish holidays and traditions

Symbolism, Dreams, and Metaphors

Viewing Guide

Additional Teaching Resources

Guide to The Fabric of Survival Exhibit

Explore Esther Nisenthal Krinitz’s survival story as told through the 36 tapestries she created.

Guide to the Film Through the Eye of the Needle: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz

The questions and activities in the guide use the art and story of Esther Krinitz Nisenthal as a springboard to learn more about the Holocaust and World War II and to convey the importance of telling one’s own story.

Worksheets for Students

The Graphic Organizers/Worksheets below can all be found here. They are fillable PDFs on which the students can do their assignments and, when completed, print out or submit digitally.

View or Print these resources:

I have never really used art to teach the Holocaust. This will really help me connect the content to my students more effectively.

Educator at Echoes Workshop, Jewish Museum of Maryland 


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