K. was born in April 1899 in
Lublin, Poland, into an intelligent family of high
standing, where she realized in herself a deep love for
publishing the Yiddish word, and she used to from her
early childhood recite and read for families and guest
creations of the Yiddish writer.
After the death of her
father, she was "eng gevoren" in her home with
her stepmother, and as an eleven-year-old girl she
traveled out to Warsaw, where she had a job in a cigar
At the age of sixteen she
came to America, where she went happily to work in New
York in a cigar factory. Here, as was observed by gev.
husband Yakov Tikman, "where Yiddish language had really
filled the air, she had aroused in the young Malka a
love for her childhood for publishing the Yiddish word.
She joined on her own a 'progressive dramatic club', the
serious ideological amateur group, with the task of
improving and elevating the level of Yiddish theatre.
She very quickly became a major force in an acting
ensemble of this talented group, and she had a deep
oysgenumen with her colleagues and with the leader
of the group, the well-known literary and theatre critic
Joel Entin. She often with praise became cited in the
theatre pages in the Yiddish press, and she was brought
to the attention of professional Yiddish theatre
directors, and she had received a range of offers to act
professionally, but she was affected by
realistic approach to the theatre, [and] she did not
accept the proposals."
At the beginning of
1914, when the "Progressive Dramatic Club" had
dissolved, her stage career was stopped., but she
had partly taken up with the various sporadic
attempts at a better, Yiddish theatre. So she had
participated when Jacob Bzemi had at the end of 1914
performed in the "Neighborhood Playhouse" Peretz's
one-acters, in 1916 she had with great onzen
participated in the offering of David Pinski's "Gavri
and the Women" under the direction of Yehoshua
Gordon in the "Garden Theatre", and acted in the
beginning of 1918 when Jacob Ben-Ami had performed
during the summer season in Schwartz's "Irving Place
K. also was made popular
with her radio program as a story teller under the
name of "Mume Malka", and, together with her
husband, became active in the National Worker's
Union and in the Yiddish folk-shuls.
Her success as a
professional actress was destined to be only on the
English stage on Broadway; in 1932 -- as "Mrs.
Becker" in Elmer Rice's "Counsellor -at-Large" (with
Paul Muni in the title role), and then in the film
(with John Barrymore, in 1934) -- in "Spring Song"
(with Francine Larrimore), and in "Having a Wonderful
In February 1944, K.
passed away in New York.
Sh. E. from
Celia Adler --
"Celia Adler dertseylt", New York, 1959, pp. 89,
504-6, 567-8, 604.