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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  HELA MEL


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

 


 

Hela Mel [Melman]


According to Jonas Turkow, M. came from an intelligent but assimilated home in Warsaw, that became poor and therefore had to search for income, and through her friend, the actress Roza Gazel, she became excited about being a chorister in a Yiddish theatre. When she learned Yiddish, she also began to receive small roles in which she did not exhibit any great talent, but as a person she was very ideal. Kerman, her husband, loved her until [he was] crazy.

The former actor Severin Zwerling recalls that M. was a tall, slender person, very lovely with black, torrid eyes. Sometimes when they were going to Lemberg, through the streets and speaking Yiddish, he was blocked by his wife who dared him to say that that beautiful woman wasn't lovely, who was passing through the streets and speaking Yiddish.

In "Extinguished Stars," Jonas Turkow writes that after the actor Pesakh Kerman divorced his first wife, with whom he wasn't happy with, for the second time married a lovely Yiddish chorister who later became an actress: Hela Mel (Melman). And with her he led a happy life. During the last years of the Second World War, she acted together with various troupes. M. acted with Zygmunt Turkow in Warsaw's "Noveshtshi" Theatre in "In-Laws," and later with the "Yidisher natsionaler bine." When the war broke out, M. with her husband fled from Warsaw to Bialystok, and from there to Lemberg. Here they worked in the local State Yiddish Theatre, but when a part of the troupe went away to guest-star in Rovno, Pesakh Kremer traveled with her, but his wife continued with the other part of the Nazis. She and Fela Rotstein (the wife of Grisha Rotstein) had, during the "action" in Lemberg's ghetto resided in a chimney. The Germans had them, but also found them there and dragged them to their death.

The actor Sheftl Zak tells that he had read somewhere that a Pole had observed that she had hidden together with Pepi Urich in a chimney, and had pointed out them to the Germans.
 

M. E. from Severin Zwerling.

Sh. E. from Sheftel Zak and from Jonas Turkow.

  • Jonas Turkow -- "Extinguished Stars", Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. II, pp. 74, 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 4147.
 

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