ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  RUZHA FUKS


Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE;
aS FEATURED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S  "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"


VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City

 

Ruzha Fuks

 

Born in 1890 in Lemberg, Eastern Galicia. Her father was a ladies' tailor. She completed a city school (birger shul). Still in school she felt a desire for the stage, but not knowing any Yiddish, she decided to become a chorister in the Polish theatre, where however they had not wanted to take her in, because she was too young. After much effort, and thanks to the protection of the Yiddish theatre prompter Boretz, they took her into the chorus of the Polish theatre, but through her acquaintance with the prompter's wife, a chorister in the Yiddish theatre, months later she was able to enter into the chorus of a Yiddish theatre. She soon attracted the attention of the orchestra conductor Adolph Gimpel because of her voice, and several weeks later he studied with her, and she debuted as "Yitzkhok" in Goldfaden's "The Sacrifice of Isaac."

After playing for several months in Lemberg, F. was engaged to a Yiddish theatre in Romania, where she took on prominent roles. In 1909 she played, already as the "first soubrette" in a Yiddish theatre in Czernowitz for Akselrod, and she became the darling of the theatre audiences. After playing there for three years, she returned to Lemberg, where she played with great success.

In 1915 F. played, in Polish, in the miniature theatre in Lemberg's "Movable [Bagatela]" theatre.

 

 

In 1927 she guest-starred in Pinsk.

F. was married to character actor Yakov Fuks, and their son is the well-known comic Leo Fuchs. After her husband's death, she married the actor George (Gershon) Rot.

According to the former Lemberg actor Severin Zwerling, who had in wartime lived in Lemberg, soon after Molly Picon had completed her guest-appearances, F. soon entered into her roles from "Yankele" and "Tsipke fayer" and greatly made a hit, both with her acting and with her singing, because she had a beautiful alto voice.

F. was always very elegantly dressed, and had managed a very well-to-do home, and used to visit the beautiful cafe houses. Year-round she played for Gimpel in a Yiddish theatre, and when it was created, when the Red Army had taken Lemberg, a Yiddish theatre took over the "Coliseum" Theatre, where her husband was one became one of the directors, and she went over to there.

About F.'s tragic end, Jonas Turkow writes:

"When the [Second World War] broke out. ...Lemberg then was taken through the Soviet might, a Yiddish theatre had already existed. When it was taken, the Polish actors fled, and the theatre was reorganized. ...when the Germans had taken Lemberg, a part of the troupe found itself guest-starring in Rovne. The formerly very beloved actress Roza Fuks (the wife of Gershon Rot) was found in Rovne with the second part of the troupe from the Lemberg theatre. She managed to get back to Lemberg and [was sent] into the ghetto. There she also led a difficult life, wandering about, through the streets, swollen from hunger. The Germans shot her."

According to Severin Zwerling, that:

When the Germans were in Lemberg, F. was locked up in her apartment on Gazova Street, at "7 Shleser" and no one entered or left her home. With the naive hope that somehow she would be able to do something. Zwerling and the actress Yetta Hochberg used to, with great efforts, somehow brought her something to eat and drink, and she used to [show] them inside. She was very weary, suffering terribly from hunger. Nevertheless she did not allow herself to buy something for her jewelry or foods to be able to ... [futervarg khdi zikh tsu konen dernern]. When the Nazis began to make their "Jewish purification," they searched for her and brought her out from her apartment, [and] she was was taken out in the beginning of 1942 and was tired to death.


Sh. E. from Gershon Rot and M.E. from Severin Zwerling.

  • Nechamya Tsuker -- "Four Generations of Yiddish Theatre," Buenos Aires, 1944, Second part, p. 374.

  • Jonas Turkow -- "Extinguished Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. 2, pp. 83-87.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4053.
 

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