Lionel Wurms, president of Alsace Bande Dessinée, and founder of the Strasbulles European Comics Festival, has announced a Call for Entries for the Prix Bartek Prize and Exhibition, in response to the murder of 36-year-old journalist and musician Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, who was shot in the Strasbourg terrorist attack and died last Sunday.
Barto, nicknamed “Bartek”, was the fifth victim to die after an attack on Strasbourg’s Christmas market, after being injured by Cherif Chekatt, who attacked shoppers armed with a gun and a knife.
Barto and his Italian friend Antonio Megalizzi tried to stop Chekatt from entering a bar during Tuesday’s assault, according to press reports. Megalizzi, who was 28, died from his injuries on Friday.
Chekatt was killed by police two days later.
Born in Katowice, Poland, Barto arrived in France as a teenager with his mother and brother Jakub. A multi-lingual radio presenter, he was the complete opposite to his murderer: a man very committed to many causes including LGBT rights, Yiddish culture, radio, music and ecology – and he was also passionate about comics.
“Barto was a hyperactive,” remembers singer and friend Luc Arbogast. “He was always invested in a project.”
“There are people who have gold in their hands, you had gold in their hearts,” commented Lionel Wurms, president of Strasbulles, a comic book festival in which Barto had a major hand in founding. “You were a model of kindness and openness to others. A unique model.”
“For several days we have been crying for a dear friend whom we have not known enough and who unfortunately we will only know by what he left of himself,” he noted in a statement on Facebook announcing the Prix Bartek, elsewhere describing Barto as “an apostle for good”.
“… We members of Alsace Comics, who lived a great adventure at your side, propose to launch a cry that will bear your name, a cry to say that we do not want terrorism either at home or elsewhere.
“We want a society in which everyone has the right to express their opinions, values, certainties and uncertainties, and to live in their own way without hindering their neighbour, but where no one, no no one and in no way whatsoever has the right to coerce, injure or kill to impose its values on others.
“Bartek did not pretend to fight terrorism, but through his interventions on radio or in associations like Musique pour la paix (Music for Peace), hosting cross-border youth events, Poles in Strasbourg, singing, folk dances, drama or comics, and all his actions in favour of Palestine, LGBT, different cultures and all the causes that touched him, he was fighting against differences and for love, tolerance and peace in the world, for a society without terrorism, attentive to everyone, more respectful and more tolerant of differences of all kinds.”
In his honour, the association Alsace Bande Dessinée has launched an appeal to everyone, young and old, with or without talent, of all convictions, of all religions, and of all origins, to express through a drawing, a strip , one or more pages of comics, “sound deep in the face of intolerance and fanaticism in today’s world”.
“These works will be the subject of a large exhibition presented as part of Strasbulles in June 2019,’ says Wurms. “A ‘Bartek’ prize will reward the achievement that best expresses the aspiration of our society for peace and tolerance.”
• Please send in your work for their exhibition and prize to Alsace Bande Dessinée, Maison des associations, 1, Place des orphelins 67 000 STRASBOURG
• The full announcement of the Prix Bartek is here on Facebook | Strasbulles is online at www.strasbulles.com
With thanks to Paul Gravett
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.