Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Zakhariah Margolin


Born on 31 December 1893 in the shtetl Pyasikatko, Yekaterinoslav Gubernia, Ukraine. Father – expeditor for the rail lines. Completed in Kremenchug the local commercial school, then in 1921, a commercial institute in Kharkov. 1922 – settled until 1932 in his wife’s (born Rubinshteyn) birth city – Shavel, where he worked as a procurer in a commercial bank, and at the same time founded and directed bookkeeping courses.

In 1932 he and his family settled in Kovno, where he had in 1934 received a proposal from the Soviet firm “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga”, and quickly became quite a representative for all the Baltic countries, France, Czechoslovakia, Finland and the United States of America.

In 1940, when the Soviets took over Lithuania, he became appointed as the manager of the department of foreign books. In 1941, when the Nazis settled into Lithuania, he became evacuated into the Kovno ghetto. In 1942, he, with his wife, was sent over in a katset to Riga.

While he was a student in a commercial school, he was socially active; he used to arrange children’s clubs, participating in the school newspaper and issued a book of collections dedicated to the ondenk of Count Leo Tolstoy. Later he participated in spectacles that were organized in the commercial school and organized theatrical courses under the direction of the famous regisseur Vakhtangov. In several schools  he staged theatrical productions and singing evenings.

The same activity in the theatrical field he also had further done in Lithuania. In Shavel, he organized various youth circles for the theatre arts, and under his direction there were staged various plays and miniatures, partly in this Yiddish translation. In Kovno he actively participated in the support of the Jewish gymnasium in the name of Sholem Aleichem. He also arranged exhibitions of the images of the scenes of the artist Mane Katz and Zilberberg (Zber) from France, and also various graphic exhibitions of other artists. In 1939 he participated in the organizing of a large Sholem Aleichem exhibition.

M. also was a steady contributor to the “Folksblat” and staged Sholem Aleichem’s “Golddiggers”.

In the Riga ghetto he worked with the children and staged with them in Yiddish, scenes from the works of I. L. Peretz and Sholem Aleichem.

According to the writer Israel Kaplan, M. was caught in the Kovno ghetto on 6 February 1942, and from there he was taken to the Riga ghetto. He had with the Yiddish school in the ghetto organized children’s offerings of Peretz’s “Shrh bt tuvis” and Sholem Aleichem’s “Teyva the Dairyman”.

In August 1944 he was sent to Stuthoff and later to Buchenwald, where he was killed in the beginning of 1945.

M.’s wife, a sister of writer Reuben Rubinshteyn in Israel, managed to be saved, and she was found in Vilna.

Sh. E. from Reuben Rubinshteyn and Israel Kaplan.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4555.

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