Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Reuben Fridman
(Meir Rubin)

Born on 8 February 1885 in Lodz, Poland. His parents were merchants. He learned in a cheder and Bet HaMedrash, and afterwards in Poznanski's school, which he completed as a technician-locksmith. From his early youth he was a member of the "Bund," and then in the "P.P.S." (Polish Socialist Party), where he became an official verndik, sought by the police, and he changed his name to Fridman.

Even as a youth he acted in school with amateurs as "Pinchasl" in "Two Kuni Lemels," and then with the director of the "Grand Theatre" Itzhak Zandberg, where he began by rewriting roles, later due to the illness of the actor Lantzman, he debuted as "Richter" in "Chinke Pinke," and acted there for a short time, until the police again begun to search for him, and he went away to Minsk, where he joined Sam Adler's troupe, then Kaminski's "Literary Troupe," and he traveled to London, England, where he played for six years with the actors M. D. Waxman, Morris Moskovich, and then he returned to England.

In 1917 F. returned to Russia, where he played in Kiev in the troupe of Young, Fiszon, and was at the first meeting of Yiddish actors and was chosen as secretary. In truth he was for half-a-year, until the union was dissolved by the Bolsheviks. F. soon returned to his birth city of Lodz, where he began to act under the direction of M. D. Waxman in the "Grand Theatre." In 1920 he returned to London, where he acted with Blumental, and then


guest-starred with his wife Helena Goltzova over the various cities, and also managed with theatres in Belgium, where he directed in 1929 with the guest-starring Shoshana in Anski's "Dybbuk."

As an intelligent actor, F. was concerned with the repertoire of the Yiddish theatre, and he delivered translations, among others: "Teresa Raquin" by Emil Zola, "Der lebediker ms" by Count L. N. Tolstoy, "Daniel Danieli," "Shylock" and "Hamlet" by Shakespeare, "Der roiter mantl" by Brie, "Mentslekhe besties" (dramatized after Zola), "Der flam" by Miller, "Dos reshtl" by Nikadema, dramatized "Mendel Beilis," which in 1914 was staged in Buenos Aires, the melodrama "Farkoyft tsu shande," staged in December 1916 in the "New Lyric" Theatre in London, and translated from the French the play, "Yo a man," which Samuel Goldenburg staged on 17 October 1927 in New York's "National" Theatre, and later across the world. F.'s translation was played by Yiddish actors, all not under his name, or even under the name of the translator.

Writing about Yiddish theatre in the first years of the current century, and the first attempt of the Yiddish actors, such as Jacob Ben Ami, Lazar Freed et al, Avraham Reyzen remarked in his memoirs about F.:

" of them, the young actor and writer Fridman (today a well-known actor, who is even known in literary circles, with his intelligence and his love of Yiddish literature, ed-hium, regardless, ,many of which migrated around the world."

F.'s brother Yankl and Velvl were connected with Yiddish theatre.

As his brother Yankl says, he had in 1943 during the German occupation of Paris, received a letter from him, and since then he heard nothing more from him.

F. was killed by the Nazis around 1943.

Sh. E. and M. E. from his brother Yankele Rubin.

  • [--] -- "Mendl beilis," oyf der higer bine, "Shtraln," Buenos Aires, January 1914.

  • B. R. -- A naye idishe melodrame, "Di tsayt," London, 25 December 1916.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Semuel goldenburg in an interesante shtarke role, "Forward," N. Y., 18 November 1927.

  • T. -- Der dybuk (fun Sh. Anski), rezhi rubin fridman, "Yidishe tsaytung," Antwerp, N' 21, 1929.

  • Shmuel Rozhanski -- "Yo a man nisht a man," oyfgefirst durkh samuel goldenburg, tsum deboyt fun stela adler in teater "ekselior," "Ats"t," Buenos Aires, 22 March 1931.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2378.

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