Born in 1897 in Beltz,
Bessarabia, into a poor family.
He studied in a cheder, then
in a school.
Once, when the parents
traveled to a wedding, the eight-year-old B. caused a
real "pogrom" at home: he gathered kids on the street
and organized a "theatre" at home. The hits and smacks
that he received on this account from his father cooled
off his pull to this "art", but did not kill it all
At age seventeen, B.
organized a drama circle of "amateurs" (including
actors-to-be Leibl Golvog -- later the actor Leon Gold
in America), Khaim Gutman, Ben Zion Berdichevski,
Edelman). A year later B. arrived in Odessa with Korik's
cast, making his debut as Solomon in "Dovids fidele".
Then he played several seasons with Sabsey, Rappel,
Dranov et al; in 1916 with Lipovizki, Kristerman,
Fridman, many seasons with Albert Segalesco and Rosa
Brin, and he had the opportunity to play the role of "Itzik"
in Hirshbein's "Puste kretchme", Dr. Kerzentzev in
Andreyev's "Gedank" and "Karl Mor" in Schiller's "Di
royber", then in Kiev with Yakov Libert and Rakitin,
In 1923 in Dnepropetrovsk,
in "Kunst-vinkl (Artistic Corner)" with Leah Bugova,
Sheynberg, Treystman, Kaplan, Dobrovinski, Nitzberg,
Leyptsiger, Meyerson, later in Moldava's wandering
In 1935, B. was both
actor and stage director in the Vinnitsa Jewish
Theatre, in 1936 in Zhitomir Jewish Worker's [kolkhaz]
theatre "Sholem Aleichem". The theatre researcher
and critic Lyubomirsky took a special note in the
Russian magazine "Theatre" of B.'s performance in
Lipe Resnik's "The Enemy at the Gate" and
"Torquemada" in Victor Hugo's play. At the same time
B. was busy with teaching, transmitting his
experience to the younger generation.
By the time of the World
War II, B. found himself in Middle Asia where he
performed as a stage artist visiting many military
hospitals with literary recitations to help wounded
In 1947, B. was a stage
director in Lemberg playing there the lead role an
“Tevye der Milkhiker (Tevye the Milkman” (in his
adaptation), then in the Ukraine where her directed
Kulbak’s “Boystre” (playing the lead role), “The Two
Kuni Lemls” (“Max”), “Kabtsonzon un hungerman,”
“Hershele ostropoler” (“Kalman”), ”Uriel Acosta”, ”Familiye
avadis” (“Zanvill Avadis”), “Der umbakanter”, and in
his translated plays by Chekkhov, Tolstoy and Mark
After the World War II,
B. settled in Kovno where since 1960 he organized
and led the Jewish dramatic group at the Trade Union
Culture Palace, touring the cities and towns of
Lithuania bringing Jewish masses the Jewish literary
B. also composed a
three-act play “Keynmol nit fargesn” about the [shoyderlikhe
retsikhes] of the Hitlerite murderers and the
Lithuanian fascist nationalists.
The play was performed
on 6 April 1965 in Kovno, and Munye Gleyzer and
Peretz Zelmanovsky wrote about it:
“The performance was
very successful, and was widely praised in the press
that [untergeshtrokhn] Yakov Beltser’s talent both
as an author and as a stage director and actor of a
most galvanizing whose main motif is amity among
national groups and the struggle against racism and
and Sh. E. from Mark Leyptsiker.
I. Yonas --
Derfalgreykhe farshtelungen fun idishn teater in
kovne un vilne, "M'f", N. Y., 11 June 1965.
Munie Gleyzer un
Peretz Zelmanovsky -- 50 yor oyf der idhser bine,
dort, 1 December 1965.
L. Even --Derfolgreykhe
forshtelung in kovne fun idisher teater grupe,
dort, 10 August 1967.