Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yetta Hochberg


Born in 1906 in Lemberg, Western Galicia, to very poor parents. She began her stage career as a chorus girl in Gimpel's Yiddish theatre. Due to her gorgeous voice she soon grew as an important force in operatic repertoire, where she excelled, not only as a singer, but also as an actress, and she began to act in important, main roles in general repertoire.

Wolf Mercur writes:

"Yetta Hochberg was transformed from a chorus girl to a prima donna when an actress, who had played the role of 'Shulamis,' became sick, and she took over the role in that production and remained a member of that troupe as an actress, and because this theatre also played a dramatic repertoire, Yetta also had an opportunity to excel in dramatic roles. This was in Gimpel's theatre in Lemberg. After several years she also was engaged as a lead actress in Bernard Hart's trope, which played across the Galician province.

Descended from a family of artisans, she didn't have the means to pay for an official training, besides the basics, but being in the environment of actors and playwrights she developed and became thought of an an intellectual with an artistic presentation of a methodic acting in the dramatic creations of modern Yiddish writers.


At the outbreak of the Second World War, she joined and played with the Soviet Yiddish State Theatre in Lemberg, where she acted until the Nazi Occupation.

According to the former actor Severin Zwerling, she worked during the Nazi Occupation in the Janover camp and lived in the Ghetto. Sometimes she had, as a khlumrshtel Pollack, she smuggled into the Ghetto, and was turned to for support. She washed their clothes, gave out a shirt, and provided them with food from her own supply of food. Around the end of 1942 she was killed by the Nazis.

Jonas Turkow writes:

"Of the murdered Lemberg Yiddish actresses, one should mention Yetta Hochberg, who was in the Janover Ghetto.

Yetta Hochberg was not only a good actress, but also a dear, gentle and warm human being. In the Janover camp she worked as a laundry-woman, and she often used to help her friends. She used to provide them with clean wash and also with food. She shared with them her last morsel."

M. E. from Severin Zwerling, David Hart; Sh. E. from Meir Melman, Wolf Mercur.

  • "Jonas Turkow-- "Wandering Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Volume 2, page 86.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4101.

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