Whose Art Is It Anyway?

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The town of Drohobych is a short drive from the Polish border, in the pastoral landscape of western Ukraine. The place was once Austro-Hungarian, then Polish and is now fiercely nationalist and Catholic. Drohobych is at the center of a storm over the alleged theft of the last known works by Polish-Jewish artist and writer Bruno Schulz. In an ironic twist the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel, a guardian of the memory of the Holocaust, stands accused.

Schulz, creator of luminous drawings and lyrical prose, is Drohobych’s most famous son. He wrote and taught...