On November 19-202022, the annual International Project “Second Autumn” took place in Drohobych and our university – a cyclical scientific and artistic event dedicated to the anniversary of the death of Bruno Schultz, which has been held since 2001 by the Ihor Menyok Polonistic Research and Information Center at Drohobych University. Together with the Polonist Center, this scientific and artistic project is invariably co-organized by the “Bruno Schulz Festival” Society (Lublin), and from 2021 the co-organizer of the “Second Autumn” is also the Kraków Pedagogical University.
The year 2022 has been declared the Year of Bruno Schulz by the Senate of the Republic of Poland. On July 12, the inauguration of the X International Bruno Schulz Festival in Drohobych was dedicated to the 130th anniversary of his birth, and on November 19, the 80th anniversary of his innocent death at the hands of the German Nazi. This year’s “Second Autumn” focused on this tragedy, which resonates especially painfully today, during the indomitable struggle of the Ukrainian people against the russian aggressor.
The two-day cycle of the project’s events began, as usual, with an ecumenical meeting and joint prayer for Bruno Schulz and those who are dedicated to preserving the multicultural memory of Drohobych. Before the joint prayer, which traditionally began on November 19 at 11:00 a.m. at the place of death of Bruno Schulz (he was most likely killed on this day and at this time in 1942), a fragment from the writer’s story “The Second Autumn” was read by Aleksandra Zinchuk from Lublin (in Polish originals) and Ostap Slyvinsky from Lviv (in the Ukrainian translation by Yuriy Andruhovych). The prayers were offered by the deputy head of the Drohobych religious community of the Jewish faith, Yevhen Keselman, the Roman Catholic priest Myroslav Leh, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Orthodox priests Myroslav Sobolta, Oleg Kekosh, and Mykhailo Bachynskyi. A special event of this year’s “Second Autumn” was the opening of the “Blue-Eyed Dream Bench” – an art installation based on Bruno Schulz’ painting “The Meeting” and the story “Republic of Dreams”. The bench-installation was inaugurated on November 19 in the University park, where it will now be located in our shared cultural space. This is a gift for Drohobych from the Polish partner city of Bytom. Since the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, Bytom has been constantly supporting Drohobych and Ukraine in the fight for victory over our common enemy providing humanitarian aid and assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
After the opening of the Blue-Eyed Dream Bench, a solemn panel “Ars longa – living presence, hope: on the 80th anniversary of the death of Bruno Schulz” was held in the university assembly hall with the participation of Rector of Drohobych University Valentyna Bodak, Mayor of Drohobych Taras Kuchma, Senator of the Republic of Poland Halyna Będa, Deputy President of the city Bytom Stanislav Korman, Consul of the General Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Lviv Nataliya Rudchyk, Honorary Doctor of Drohobych University Grzegorz Józefchuk, Professor of Krakow Pedagogical University Pawel Pruhniak, ex-director of the Polish Book Institute Grzegorz Gauden, scientists and cultural activists from Ukraine and Poland. Valentyna Bodak, rector of Drohobych University, and head of the Polonist Center, organizer of “Druha Osen” and director of the International Bruno Schulz Festival in Drohobych – Vira Menyok (who was also awarded an honorary medal of the Krakow Pedagogical University) were awarded honorary diplomas of the “Bruno Schulz Festival” Society in Lublin.
As part of the “Second Autumn 2022“, the traditional international literary conference “November Readings” was held, which this year had the subtitle of “art and truth”, so Polish and Ukrainian scientists in speeches and discussions entertained the possibility of the power of art to overcome complex and sometimes tragic truth/ the truth of life, in particular the terrible truth of war, which we are experiencing today and which our Polish friends and scientific partners are helping us to experience. The conference was held with the participation of humanitarians Pavlo Pruhniak (Krakow), Vira Menyok (Drohobych), Józef Olejniczak (Katowice), Danylo Ilnytskyi (Lviv), Aleksandra Zinchuk (Lublin), Serhiy Taradayko (Zaporizhia, online participation), Maciej Tramer (Katowice). The discussions during the conference were interesting and lively, in particular the speeches of the famous Lviv writers, literary critics and translators Yurko Prokhaska and Ostap Slyvinskyi.
In the series of literary and artistic meetings and discussions held in the city library named after Vyacheslav Chornovil, the following people met with Drogobych residents, the university academic community and guests of our city: Grzegorz Józefchuk with a presentation of the materials of this year’s July X Schulzfest; Grzegorz Gauden with the preview of his new book, about which the author spoke with Andrii Pavlyshyn; Pavel Prukhniak and Vira Menyok, who presented the “Drohobych Schultz” issues of the prestigious scientific journal “Contexts” of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Ukrainian children’s writer and poet Olesya Mamchych, interviewed by Eva Raiska; cult Polish poet Jacek Podsiadlo, who has been active in volunteering since the beginning of the full-scale war with the russian federation, helping Drohobych, Kharkiv and Ukraine in general. His poems on the Holocaust were performed, Pavel Prukhniak conducted a conversation with the poet; Yurko Prokhaska and Ostap Slyvinskyi spoke about their own experience as a “second author” as translators of Polish and German literature into Ukrainian.
Participants and guests of this year’s “Second Autumn” had a unique opportunity to visit art events: “Shelter” – an exhibition of a graphic series by Oleh Hryshchenko (Kyiv) based on the frescoes of Bruno Schultz, which was opened in the “Bare Windows” gallery, the artist’s works can now be viewed on the wall of the building at the corner of Zankovetska and Shevchenko streets; “Identification” – a documentary performance by the Alter Theater on current topics of our military present, directed by Olena Yurkevich, which took place in the Youth Space; “Dashed Lines of War” – an exhibition of works by modern Ukrainian artists on the theme of war from the private collection of Dmytro Stetsko, which can now be viewed at the DiA gallery, located at 5, Honcharska Street; performative action of Oleksandr Maksimov “Remove the excess” – the artist removed the russian federation from a map of the world.
The anniversary of the death of the great Drohobych resident Bruno Schulz, for whom Drohobych was a “chosen land”, “the only city in the world”, echoed during the “Second Autumn” with the acoustics of Ukraine’s current heroic struggle against the russian terrorist invader, strengthening faith in our soonest possible Victory.
Vira Menyok, head of the Polonist Scientific and Information Center
named after Ihor Menyok at Drohobych University
Photos: Ihor Fetsyak
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By vmp