Bruno Schulz

Bruno Schulz bigraphy, stories - Polish novelist and painter

Bruno Schulz : biography

July 12, 1892 – November 19, 1942

Bruno Schulz (July 12, 1892 – November 19, 1942) was a Polish writer, fine artist, literary critic and art teacher born to Jewish parents, and regarded as one of the great Polish-language prose stylists of the 20th century. Schulz was born in Drohobych, in the Austrian sector of the Partitioned Poland, and spent most of his life there. He was killed by a German Nazi officer.

Mural controversy

In February 2001, Benjamin Geissler, a German documentary filmmaker, discovered the mural that Schulz had created for Landau. Polish conservation workers, who had begun the meticulous task of restoration, informed Yad Vashem, the Israeli holocaust memorial, of the findings. In May of that year representatives of Yad Vashem went to Drohobych to examine the mural. They removed five fragments of it and transported them to Jerusalem.Amiram Barkat, "Yad Vashem not displaying Bruno Schulz Holocaust art", , 06/04/05. Last accessed January 02, 2011.

International controversy ensued., by Mark Baker, M.B.B. Biskupski, John Connelly, Ronald E. Coons et al. The New York Review of Books (Volume 48, Number 19 • November 29, 2001), NPR (Monday, July 9, 2001) Yad Vashem said that parts of the mural were legally purchased, but the owner of the property said that no such agreement was made, and Yad Vashem did not obtain permission from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture despite legal requirements.New York Times. . June 20, 2001 The fragments left in place by Yad Vashem have since been restored and, after touring Polish museums, are now part of the collection at the Bruno Schulz Museum in Drohobych.

This gesture by Yad Vashem instigated public outrage in Poland and Ukraine, where Schulz is a beloved figure.

The issue reached a settlement in 2008 when Israel recognized the works as "the property and cultural wealth" of Ukraine, and Ukraine’s Drohobychyna Museum agreed to lend the works to Yad Vashem as a long-term loan.Heller, Aron ; The Orange County Register, Feb 20, 2009 In February 2009, Yad Vashem opened to the public its display of the Schulz murals which it had removed from Drohobych.


Bruno Schulz was the son of cloth merchant Jakub and Henrietta Schulz née Kuhmerker. At a very early age, he developed an interest in the arts. He attended school in Drohobych from 1902 to 1910, after which he studied architecture at Lviv Polytechnic. His studies were interrupted by illness in 1911 but he resumed them in 1913 after two years of convalescence. In 1917 he briefly studied architecture in Vienna.

After World War I, the region of Galicia, which included Drohobych, returned to Poland. Schulz taught drawing in a Polish school from 1924 to 1941. His employment kept him in his hometown, although he disliked his profession as a teacher, apparently maintaining it only because it was his sole source of income.Schulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles. 1992, page 15.

Schulz developed his extraordinary imagination in a swarm of identities and nationalities; a Jew who thought and wrote in Polish, was fluent in German, immersed in Jewish culture, yet unfamiliar with the Yiddish language., by Benjamin Paloff Boston Review (December 2004/January 2005) Yet there was nothing cosmopolitan about him; his genius fed in solitude on specific local and ethnic sources. He preferred not to leave his provincial hometown, which over the course of his life belonged to two states: the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Second Polish Republic (during World War II occupied by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany). His adult life was often perceived by outsiders as that of a hermit; uneventful and enclosed.

Schulz was discouraged by influential colleagues from publishing his first short stories. However, his aspirations were refreshed when several letters that he wrote to a friend, in which he gave highly original accounts of his solitary life and the details of the lives of his family and fellow citizens, were brought to the attention of the novelist Zofia Nałkowska. She encouraged Schulz to have them published as short fiction. They were published as The Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy Cynamonowe) in 1934. In English-speaking countries, it is most often referred to as The Street of Crocodiles, a title derived from one of its chapters. The Cinnamon Shops was followed three years later by Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass (Sanatorium Pod Klepsydrą). The original publications were illustrated by Schulz; in later editions of his works, however, these illustrations were often left out or poorly reproduced. In 1936 he helped his fiancée, Józefina Szelińska, translate Franz Kafka’s The Trial into Polish. In 1938, he was awarded the Polish Academy of Literature’s prestigious Golden Laurel award.