In 1903 Schatz suddenly began producing a series of reliefs on subjects taken from Jewish daily life in Eastern Europe. This burst of creativity dedicated to Jewish themes was most likely brought on by the traumatic attack on the Jews of Kishinev in the same year. The Kishinev pogrom was one of the turning points in Zionist history; for Boris Schatz, it led to an emotional and artistic transformation. Scene after scene, Schatz's poignant depictions of Jewish existence can be seen as a kind of salvage operation, an attempt to rescue cultural and communal memory and preserve a vanishing world, now threatened with violent destruction.
In 1905 Schatz moved to Berlin, the seat of the Zionist leadership after the death of Herzl, with the intention of promoting the cause of the Bezalel art school. He stayed with Herzl's close friend, the illustrator Ephraim Moses Lilien. Lilien introduced Schatz to Dr. Franz Oppenheimer, a Zionist activist who, in turn, introduced him to Otto Warburg, later president of the World Zionist Organization.