Esther was 12 when the German soldiers entered her village in Poland. Decades later, her memories of that terrible time -- of how she and her sister escaped death, the fate of millions of other Jews at the hands of the Nazis -- were as strong and clear as if it all happened yesterday.

Here is one such memory: "October 15, 1942. We left our house for good and walked down to the road . . . my brother helped my little sisters settle into the rear wagon. . . . Suddenly, Mottel's daughter-in-law stood up and cried to my mother, 'Rachel, we will never come back! We will all perish!' Everyone began to cry. . . . The wagons left for the [train] station, and we never saw our family again."

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz and her sister Mania did survive the Holocaust. They fled to another village and pretended to be Catholic farm girls. Near the end of World War II, as the Germans were being driven out, Esther joined the Polish army. She was 17.

The two sisters went on to marry, have children and come to America. Esther, who loved to tell stories and could sew almost anything, owned a ladies clothing shop in Frederick, Maryland, and happily made costumes and toys for her grandchildren.

When she was 50, she began stitching the story of her childhood in Poland. The result was 36 colorful panels -- simple fabric portraits so beautiful you have to look really closely to see the hatred and injustice that inspired them.

Esther's story is told in "Memories of Survival," a book put together by her daughter Bernice Steinhardt. Steinhardt hopes that KidsPost readers, many of whom are about the age her mother was when these events unfolded, will see in Esther's needlework how courage, even on the part of a child, can defeat evil.

-- Marylou Tousignant

The girls pretend to be Catholics and try to find work in another town. But when their employers want to see identification, the sisters flee into the forest. Back in their village, the sisters seek shelter with a neighbor but are turned away. After the war she and Mania meet their future husbands in a refugee camp. In 1949, Esther and Max Krinitz and their baby, Bernice, come to the United States. Max's cousin Clara comes aboard to welcome them: "My dear child, this will be your America!"The Nazis arrive in September 1939 and make the Jews work for them. Esther isn't old enough for hard labor, but Ruven is. Ruven and his friends are ordered to dig a trench. They all died during the war.On Oct. 15, 1942, the Nazis force all Jews to leave Mniszek. Instead of following the others to a train station, Esther and her sister Mania try to reach the home of a non-Jewish friend. Esther and Mania finally find safety in another town. But in June 1943, while working in a garden, Esther is approached by two German soldiers. A swarm of honeybees appears and scares the men away. "The bees saved me," Esther would say later with a laugh.Esther grew up Mniszek, a village of a dozen or so families -- most of them Jewish. Before the war, Esther and her brother, Ruven, swim in the river by their house as their sisters watch.