You killed my Jew
Post #1308 • March 5, 2009, 11:12 AM • 6 Comments
This has to be some kind of record for a pointless destruction of artistic life. Bruno Schulz was an artist and short story writer who had earned an appreciable amount of recognition in his native Poland. A Gestapo sargeant named Felix Landau intervened in his internment into forced labor, and brought him into his home with orders to decorate his children's nursery.
Landau did save Schulz for more than a year, until November 1942, by providing him with work and the means for minimal sustenance. Schulz, whose literary reputation as a short-story writer had already been established, had obtained false Aryan papers and was about to escape when another Gestapo sergeant, Karl Günter, angry that Landau had killed his Jewish dentist, put a bullet in Schulz's head. He is said to have told Landau: "You killed my Jew. Now I’ve killed yours."
The murals he painted for the children were rediscovered in 2001 in what is now Ukraine, removed under somewhat controversial circumstances, and installed in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
I own the Northwestern University Press catalogue of drawings, and it's full of charming depictions of shtetl life and intriguing scenes of erotic female domination. He's definitely worth a look if you don't know him.