Born on 11 April 1885 in
Kortshin (Korczyna), near Rimanov (Rymanów), Galicia.
His father was a spice merchant. He learned in a cheder,
and for three years he attended a school.
Due to the very bad economic
conditions that existed, P. migrated with his family to
America when he was thirteen years of age, and soon he
became a frequent visitor of the Yiddish theatre.
He made himself known to
Joseph Edelstein, who was then the manager of the
"People's Theatre," and he became for him a doorman
[ticket-taker] for $1.50 a week, then an assistant to
the house supervisor of the theatre, and then by himself
was a supervisor, until he won the job of an assistant
cashier, a cashier and unofficial manager of the
From the 1926-27 season
until the 1929-30 season he was, together with Jacob
Kalich, Joseph Rumshinsky, Max Sager and Nathan Parnes
-- an owner and manager of "Kessler's Second Avenue
Theatre". From 1930-31 he was with them in the "Folks
Theatre" and since that season of 1931-31 (together with
Nathan Parnes --and until 1936 also with Max Sager and
William Rolland) -- manager of the "Public Theatre."
From 1937-38 he was manager of the "Folks Theatre";
1938-39 manager in the "Prospect Theatre," then business
manager in the "National Theatre," cashier in the
"Public Theatre," later manager in the "Folks Theatre"
and cashier in the "National Theatre."
During his last years P.
suffered from a heart illness and was brought to the
hospital quite often, interrupting his work. For the
1941-42 season he was engaged as the business manager in
the "Jolson Theatre," but he only appeared to enter. On
10 August 1942 he passed away from a heart attack and
was brought to his gravesite at the cemetery of the
Yiddish Theatrical Alliance in New York.
P. was very popular in all
circles, especially in the Yiddish theatre- and
newspaper world. He also had helped many, various
theatres with information about Yiddish theatre in New
Y. Kirschenbaum writes:
more to translate..."
And Elisha [B. Botwinik]
characterized him as such:
" Willy was not any kind of
an actor, not a playwright or director, not...
more to translate..."
Sholem Perlmutter noted on
quite a special page:
"Everyone had known that
Willy... more to translate..."
M. E. and
M. E. from Nathan Parnes
[--] -- Di naye beli
btim fun dem sekond evenyu theater, "Forward," N.
Y., 30 October 1925.
Y. Kirschenbaum --
Pasternak in oysgevaksen un zikh oysgelebt mit dem
teaer, "Morning Journal," N. Y., 12 August 1942.
Elisha -- Willy
pasternak, "Forward," N. Y., 13 August 1942.
Sholem Perlmutter --
Tsum ondenk fun dem balibtn vili pasternak, "Der
tog," N. Y., 9 September 1942.