Tuesday, March 24, 2009
"You killed my Jew—I killed yours"
In 1941, when the Germans seized the Polish town of Drohobycz, Felix Landau, the notorious Gestapo officer in charge of the Jewish labor force, took an interest in Bruno Schulz, a local writer and artist who had submitted samples of his work to the Judenrat in the hope of gaining employment. Landau had an eye for design—after the war, he went on to start an interior-decorating firm in Bavaria—and he commissioned a number of works from Schulz, including a set of murals for his young son's bedroom depicting scenes from fairy tales. In return, Landau supplied Schulz with extra food and with protection that temporarily spared the artist's life. Ultimately, though, Landau's favors contributed to Schulz's death. In November, 1942, Landau killed a Jewish dentist favored by a rival Gestapo officer, Karl Günther. Soon after, on a day that has come to be known as Black Thursday, Günther saw his opportunity for revenge. That morning, a "wild action"—a spontaneous Gestapo shooting spree—broke out. Schulz was not at work but in the ghetto, perhaps getting food in preparation for an escape, which he had planned for that night. According to Schulz's friend Izydor Friedman, who witnessed his death, Günther caught up with Schulz at the corner of Czacki and Mickiewicz Streets and shot him twice in the head. "You killed my Jew—I killed yours," he later boasted to Landau.
* link to gallery and others 1 2 3