The twentieth-century artist Bruno Schulz was born an Austrian, lived as a Pole, and died a Jew. “One of the most remarkable writers who ever lived” (Isaac Bashevis Singer), Schulz also created erotic art—masochistic scenes that caught the eye of a sadistic Nazi officer. Schulz’s art became the currency in which he bought life.
Drawing on extensive new reporting and archival research, Bruno Schulz chases the inventive murals he painted on the walls of an SS villa―the last traces of his vanished world―into multiple dimensions of Schulz’s life and afterlife. Sixty years after Schulz was murdered, those murals were miraculously rediscovered, only to be secretly smuggled by Israeli agents to Jerusalem. The ensuing international furor summoned broader perplexities, not just about who has the right to curate orphaned artworks and to construe their meanings, but about who can claim to stand guard over the legacy of Jews killed in the Nazi slaughter.