P. was born in 1898 in
Yelisavetgrad, Ukraine, to poor parents. Her father was
a mill worker. At age fifteen she completed school
with an award, but due to the "percentage norm" Jewish
students did not enter the gymnasium.
Possessing a rare soprano
voice, P. in school participated in the singing
productions. The son of the house owner, the Ukrainian
theatre director and actor Kalisnotshenko, took her in
to his troupe to act in children's roles during his
guest appearances in Yelisavetgrad, and would even take
on their tour, though her parents hadn't agreed to it.
But when she grew up, she
left with the incoming Yiddish troupe of Mishurat, until
her father took her out [of the troupe] and brought her
During the First World War,
when the Czarist government had forbidden performances
in Yiddish, she became engaged in Zaslavsky's troupe,
which performed Yiddish repertoire in Russian, and in
1917, when the troupe went over to act in Yiddish, she
remained in the troupe as a prima donna.
P. also often used to
perform as a soloist in concerts (ever? used to her type
of folksongs), or in duets with Misha Apelboym.
In 1918 she married
actor Sholem Pinkus and a year later
bore a child, who passed away in 1920.