A Fake

The View Over Lvov, Erno Erb?

I wish it was a real Erno Erb. Or, does it matter? Even the eager Polish antique shop guy said it isn’t. I love it all the same. Sometimes I touch it. The braille experience. Dried paint bruises, deep cuts, damaged frame. It’s real enough for me. A false Erno Erb means someone loved it enough to steal from it. I keep repeating Erno Erb Erno Erb to myself. Like Symche Trachter or Gela Seksztajn. Forgotten Polish sounds and melodies. The view over, Polish at the time, the city of Lvov.

Haskalah, a Jewish enlightenment in the second half of the 18th century, sought to integrate the Jewish population into modern European culture. As a result, Jewish artists went beyond closed circles of religious prohibitions to imitate and create. During the Holocaust, hundreds of historically recognized Polish Jewish artists were murdered.

Please, look up Efraim and Menasze Seidenbeutel, twin brothers who painted as one. Shot, one by one, in 1945, at the Flossenburg concentration camp, one day before the camp was liberated,

Girl with a Dove, Seidenbeutel Brothers
Still Life, 1930, Seidenbeutel Brothers

Please, discover Bruno Schulz, writer and artist, shot dead in 1942 while walking home with a loaf of bread (returning from a house of a Nazi Gestapo officer, who offered him protection in exchange for painting),

Bruno Schulz’s The Procession — from the series The Book of Idolatry from 1920–1924

Please, google Gela Seksztajn, painter and art teacher at the Warsaw ghetto, who: a. died with her family at the Treblinka concentration camp in 1942, b. perished during the ghetto uprising along with her husband and child in 1943. She wrote in her will, found among the ghetto’s documents buried in milk cans:

I request no praise, I wish only that my name be remembered and also that of my little daughter, talented Margalit (…) who at age of twenty months shows signs of artistic talent.

Girl from the Ghetto, Gela Seksztajn, 1940s

I wish Erno Erb’s death at the Lvov’s ghetto, in 1943, was a fake.