12 VII 1892, Drohobycz (Ukraine) — 19 IX 1942, Drohobycz

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Biography

Drohobycz-born Bruno Schulz was a writer, graphic artist, painter and draughtsman. His two collections of short stories, The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, are still widely read and analysed around the globe. Seen by many as a creative genius and mythical figure, he continues to be an inspiration for other artists to this very day.

Bruno Schulz was born on 12 July, 1892, to a cloth merchant’s family living in Drohobycz. His family was part of the Jewish religious community, but they did not live their lives in accordance with Jewish traditions. At home, they spoke Polish. Bruno immortalised the tenant house he lived in by describing it in a series of short stories which were later published in a collection titled Cinnamon Shops (known in English as The Street of Crocodiles). After graduating from high school, he went on to study architecture at Lviv Polytechnic. During the First World War, Schulz’s family spent several months in Vienna. When his father died, Bruno took over the responsibility of supporting the family. In 1924, he took up a permanent job in a middle school in Drohobycz, first as an art teacher, and later also as a handicraft teacher.

His literary début came in 1933 with the publication of the short story Birds in the literary magazine Wiadomości Literackie. The previously-mentioned collection of his short stories, The Street of Crocodiles, came out the same year thanks to the support of another Polish writer, Zofia Nałkowska. Despite remaining a modest teacher from a small town, Bruno quickly became a famous and significant figure in the Warsaw literary scene. In 1937, he published a second collection of short stories: Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. He kept in touch with many artists and writers of the era, including Witold Gombrowicz, Artur Sandauer, Witkacy (Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz) and Debora Vogel. Both his art and writings reflect foremost the intricacies and complexities of his internal life. His mysterious unpublished novel, The Messiah, is assumed to have survived the war, and the search for the missing manuscript continues to this day.

In 1941, when Germans entered Drohobycz, Felix Landau, a Gestapo officer known for his cruelty, extended his “protection” to Bruno Schulz, ordering him to produce various works of art in return. Ultimately, Schulz died at the hands of another Gestapo officer who shot him on one of the streets of his home town on 19 November, 1942. His work, however, lives on, continuing to attract the interest of researchers and readers all over the world.

Drohobycz-born Bruno Schulz was a writer, graphic artist, painter and draughtsman. His two collections of short stories, The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, are still widely read and analysed around the globe. Seen by many as a creative genius and mythical figure, he continues to be an inspiration for other artists to this very day.

Bruno Schulz was born on 12 July, 1892, to a cloth merchant’s family living in Drohobycz. His family was part of the Jewish religious community, but they did not live their lives in accordance with Jewish traditions. At home, they spoke Polish. Bruno immortalised the tenant house he lived in by describing it in a series of short stories which were later published in a collection titled Cinnamon Shops (known in English as The Street of Crocodiles). After graduating from high school, he went on to study architecture at Lviv Polytechnic. During the First World War, Schulz’s family spent several months in Vienna. When his father died, Bruno took over the responsibility of supporting the family. In 1924, he took up a permanent job in a middle school in Drohobycz, first as an art teacher, and later also as a handicraft teacher.

His literary début came in 1933 with the publication of the short story Birds in the literary magazine Wiadomości Literackie. The previously-mentioned collection of his short stories, The Street of Crocodiles, came out the same year thanks to the support of another Polish writer, Zofia Nałkowska. Despite remaining a modest teacher from a small town, Bruno quickly became a famous and significant figure in the Warsaw literary scene. In 1937, he published a second collection of short stories: Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. He kept in touch with many artists and writers of the era, including Witold Gombrowicz, Artur Sandauer, Witkacy (Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz) and Debora Vogel. Both his art and writings reflect foremost the intricacies and complexities of his internal life. His mysterious unpublished novel, The Messiah, is assumed to have survived the war, and the search for the missing manuscript continues to this day. 

In 1941, when Germans entered Drohobycz, Felix Landau, a Gestapo officer known for his cruelty, extended his “protection” to Bruno Schulz, ordering him to produce various works of art in return. Ultimately, Schulz died at the hands of another Gestapo officer who shot him on one of the streets of his home town on 19 November, 1942. His work, however, lives on, continuing to attract the interest of researchers and readers all over the world. 

While we are working on the German translation, you can read Bruno Schulz’s works in Polish or Ukrainian!