Pinchas Avivi, (left) Deputy Director-General and head of the Division for Central Europe and Eurasia in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Ihor Tymofieiev (right) sign the agreement today at Yad Vashem
Bruno Schulz, Carriage Driver, Drohobycz, 1941-1942. Fresco a secco
28 February 2008
Today, Israel and Ukraine signed an agreement relating to the Bruno Schulz works located at Yad Vashem. The agreement was signed by Pinchas Avivi, Deputy Director-General and head of the Division for Central Europe and Eurasia in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Ihor Tymofieiev, in the presence of Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Ivan Vasyunik.
According to the agreement, the Schulz works, currently located at Yad Vashem, will be recognized as the property and cultural wealth of Ukraine, and will be on temporary loan at Yad Vashem for 20 years, after which the loan will be automatically renewed every five years.
Bruno Schulz was born in Drohobycz (then Poland, today Ukraine). A Jewish author and artist, he was forced to embellish with fairy-tale protagonists the walls of the children’s room in a house occupied by Nazi officer Felix Landau. He was later shot to death by an SS officer on a day of pogroms in the city of Drohobycz, only because he was a Jew. Some 60 years after they were made, the works were discovered in a state of neglect and disrepair. Yad Vashem acquired the works, with the agreement of the family, in whose home they were found, and the approval and blessing of the Mayor of Drohobycz, and a team of experts brought the works to Yad Vashem in 2001. Since that time, they have undergone professional conservation to keep them in the condition in which they were found and to ensure that no further deterioration of the materials and colors occurs in the future.
The conditions under which the murals were created, by the sole wish of the Nazi perpetrator and under his direct command - that is, forced labor - make them Holocaust artifacts. Schulz’s fate was the same as that as most of the Jews of Drohobycz - cold-blooded murder at the hand of the Nazis.