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A Theft of Bruno Schulz Frescos

Photo by Postup

On May 21, 2001 the frescos created by writer, philosopher and artist Bruno Schulz during his last months of life disappeared from the villa where Gestapo officer, commissioner in Jewish affairs Felix Landau lived during the occupation period. In three days they were dismantled skilfully from the walls of the apartment where now two old spouses live who received 100 USD for the disturbance. As it was clarified later, the frescos has been dismantled and transferred to Israel by the group of specialists from Yad Vashem Institute, Jerusalem. Institute speaker Iris Rosenberg answering on the requests of illegal displacing of Ukrainian cultural heritage mentioned that the group of conservators led by Marc Schreiberman, Yad Vashem officer had a grant paper from the apartment owners (though not certified by the lawyer) and the official permission of Drohobych city authorities. The Mayor of Drohobych O.Radzijevskyj however objects his engagement to this deal. It is not clear yet how did the precious pieces cross the Ukrainian border - through the customs or by diplomatic channels, what can point to the kind of crime committed: theft, corruption or both. Lviv Art Gallery Director Mr.Voznytskyj invited the independent experts from Poland (particularly the National Museum conservator Mrs. Agnieszka Kijowska who was the first person to open the first hidden fragments of the frescos) for the exact evaluation of damages caused by dismantling (thestolen pictures has been dismantled from two walls of the children room, though there could be some on the third wall and somewhere else in the villa still hidden under the plaster layer). Just recently before the theft of the frescos the Krupp Foundation (Germany) has declared the donation of 300 000 USD in order to buy new flats for inhabitants of five apartments of the villa and to create a Reunion and Reconciliation Centre in its rooms to which Memorial Museum of Bruno Schulz, Centre for interethnic relations studies in Drohobych and the small hotel for the foreign specialists who would study and multiply the multi-cultural Galician heritage, should be included.