Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Moshe Polakevitsh



P. was born in 1890 in Warsaw, Poland, into a rich, religious family. His father was the owner of a manufacturing business.

A well-read student with a serious attitude about Yiddish literature and theatre, he became at age sixteen a member of "Hazamir", and at eighteen he performed under the direction of Sh. L. Handwohl [S. Wohl] in the dramatic amateur troupe "Gordin", from which there later emerged an entire group of professional actors: Shtokfeder, Rozen, Rotman, Gutharts, Lederman, Shulveys, Mendelevitsh, Epstein, Norflus and Liampe.

After some years' time P. led a double life: at home he wore a long caftan and a black, round tukhn hitele, and in the street or across the province, where he used to tour with the amateur troupe, he used to wear a short coat, a hat and a cape. The "over-clothes" used to come in a kaviarnye, from the "home" of Yiddish actors and amateurs, on Milagasse in Warsaw.

In 1912 P. left his home and included himself in Lerman's professional troupe with whom he toured across many cities in Poland, Russia and the Ukraine. Then he acted in father roles, in the troupes of Zhitomirsky, Guzik et al.

During the First World War, he returned to Warsaw, and his parents, who had earlier derveytert from him, betn themselves over to him, and came to see him act. Later he traveled again across Poland, and after the Russian Revolution, also crossed Russia.

He returned to Warsaw and he married the actress Pola Keyzer (who also was killed by the Nazis), acted a short time, then later went into commerce with manufacturing and later retired from the stage.

According to the "Yizkor list" in programs from the Yiddish State Theatre in Poland, P. was killed by the Nazis in Poland.

  • "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre", New York, 1959, Vol. 3, p. 1635.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4847.
Also see the Lexicon's first biography of Moshe Polakevitsh in its Volume 3.

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