Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Helena Gottlieb


Born in 1885 in Grodno, Polish Lithuania, into an intellectual family that soon moved over to Warsaw, where G. learned in a gymnasium. She spoke to a friend -- a Yiddish actress, who connected G. with the Yiddish theatre, and she broke away because of her relationship with her family.

After acting for several seasons in provincial troupes, G. performed in the Elizeum Theatre, and then in Kaminski's theatre, where she participated in strong operettas and dramatic repertoire.

During the First World War G. acted for several years in Russia, then she joined together with her husband, A. I. Samberg, in Warsaw's Central Theatre, going over to a literary repertoire. From there she became engaged by the Vilna Troupe, with whom she was associated with until the start of 1929, and then with other troupes.

In the Warsaw Ghetto she acted in the Kameralny Theatre, in Polish, under the direction of Mark Arnstein, in the role of "Khana Devorah" in Gordin's "Mirele efros."

Noakh Prilutski was one of the first who praised the acting capacity of G.



Thus he writes in connection with Morris Moskowitz's performance in Warsaw in Strindberg's "Father":

"Also blameless was Moskowitz, the gevisnhoftikn regisseur, who gave over such a difficult role as Laura to the woman Gottlieb, who is a wholly gifted artist and had done everything in the piece, which only her strength could have permitted her, who could however positively not be fartretn any dramatic premiere.

And about G.'s acting with the guest-starring Boris Thomashefsky in Kobrin's "The Lost Paradise," Noakh Prilutski writes:

"Mrs. Gottlieb (Dobe), the wise mother of the 'play,' had a nice piece of advice given with the sea wail [im yomer] and performed, came out entirely natural from her."

"Madame Bik" in Bergelson's "Der toyber"

             "Danton's Death"

Jonas Turkow writes:

"Samberg has to thank very much his first wife, the actress Helena Gottlieb, who had come from an intellectual home (the Shlargmans from Warsaw), and alone belongs to the intellectual actresses of the old Yiddish guard.

During the German bombardment in the year 1939, Samberg could not avoid going out of his home at Panska 22, and his wife Helena Gottlieb, became wounded. In the Warsaw ghetto Samberg became the artistic director of the Yiddish theatre, the 'New Azazel,' which was formed on Novolipie and Zelazna, under the direction of the actor Chaim Sandler. He acted together with his wife in this theatre. When the 'liquidation' in the Warsaw Ghetto began, the Sambergs received the first blow: They were picked up and evacuated to Treblinka into the gas chambers, she his true life companion and friend, his teacher and devoted friend, Helena Gottlieb."

  • "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre, " N.Y., 1931, Vol. 1, p. 256.

  • Noakh Prilutski-- "Yiddish Theatre," Bialystok, 1921,pages 35, 43.

  • Nechemias Zucker-- "Four Generations of Yiddish Theatre," Buenos Aires, 1944, 2nd part, pages 244, 321, 352.

  • Jonas Turkow-- "Azoy iz es geven," Buenos Aires, 1948, p. 201.

  • Jonas Turkow-- "Wandering Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. 1, pages 17-27, 32, 121; Vol. 2, pages 95, 103.

  • Zygmunt Turkow-- "Di ibergerisene tkufeh," Buenos Aires, 1961, pages 47, 156 and 164.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 3896.

You can find the initial "Lexicon" biography in Vol. 1 on page 256.

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