1917 -- L. performed in
Iasi, and in the same year returned to Odessa, where
she performed in the large theatre. After the
Bolshevik Revolution, it was forbidden to perform
her repertoire, but the ban was later abolished.
1928 -- L. returned to
Poland, where she performed with great success. Soon
thereafter she went to Vienna and performed there,
and then in Karlsbad, Marienbad and returned to
Poland, and then again to Vienna. Here, in great
hardship, she became ill, and for a certain time was
laid up in the Rothschild Hospital, and there on 13
September 1930 she passed away.
Her funeral was arranged
by the Vienna Yiddish Artists Union, and the
community provided a free burial plot.
Dr. M. Vaykhert
characterizes her this way: Pepi Littman was not an
“actress.” She seldom performed in a theatre, and if
sometimes she did appear on a great stage, it was
not by choice. Her own domain was not the theatre,
but the concert hall or garden, not the “big stage”
but the “intimate stage.” Disguised as a Hasid, in a
velvet hat over sidelocks, around the round, full,
woman's face, in a wide, unbuttoned coat, short
pants, white socks and house slippers, with both
hands under the sidelocks or on her hips, she used
to pop out from behind the curtains with a song, and
at that moment, the audience would light up as
though struck by lightning and everyone – clerk and
merchant, tailor and doctor, maid and lady –
recognized the melody and sang the song with her.
Pepi Littman had a mannish voice, deep and hoarse.
But, anyone who heard her “Rejoice” could never
“Pepi Littman was not an
actress”, she had no legitimacy from a professional
organization and had no “acting schools,” no
“degree,” but in the Yiddish theatre, she herself
had more prestige than any two modern professional
troupes put together. She created folk-humor and
folk-sentiment from the source that Goldfaden and
Grodner had used. She had a dramatist’s temperament,
a performer’s blood, Yiddish fervor.
characterizes her thus: “Pepi Littman, with her
cheerful acting style and her distinctive folk-style
singing, striding on stage with her men’s trousers,
with her Galician Hasidic cap, almost always called
forth a peaceful mood in the Yiddish audience.
Despite those who she said she had no education, in
society she made an impression as an educated woman,
thanks to the fact that essentially she spoke a
universal language. Despite the fact that she was
living the life of an artist, Pepi Littman had a
religious disposition, as evidenced by the fact that
she began to light Sabbath candles on Friday nights,
avoided non-kosher food, and began to observe
religious customs that applied to Jewish women.”
According to Jacob
Mestel, who knew L. personally and often met with
her traveling vaudeville troupe, L. was almost the
only characteristically-Jewish “female singer in
Hasidic trousers.” In prose-sketches, her short,
stout figure appeared plump, even clumsy. But, when
she moved around the stage as a “Hasid,” her deep
contralto blazed through her every nerve. She
stroked it gently, as though it was a cello, and
with her “vulgar charm” she inspired the audience.
It’s a fact that L., and
not her husband, was the director of her vaudeville
troupe. She was also the first to hire
foreign-language female singers for her ensemble,
depending on local requirements: in Galicia and
Bukovina—German and Polish, in Hungary—German and
Hungarian, and so on, and with them, she often
performed “abridged theatre-plays” (“Little Boxes”).
Sh. E. from
Mikhael Vaykhert –
“Pepi Littman dies”, Lodz Daily, Sept.
Sh. Chius – “In
Foreign Shrouds,” Our Times, Kishinev,
Sept. 22, 1930.
Elhanan Tseytlin –
“At the grave of Pepi Littman," Our Express,
Warsaw, Oct. 10, 1930.
Sh. Dorfzon –
“Famous Yiddish Actress Pepi Littman Dies in
Vienna,” Forward, N.Y., Oct. 14, 1930.
Sh. Hochberg – “The
Tragedy of Pepi Littman,” Lodz Daily,
Oct. 6, 1930, Post, London, October 12,
The Press, B.A., November 14, 1930.
Lina Lipman – A
letter to the editor, Moment, Warsaw,
Jan. 23, 1931.