Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Malka Shefner

Born on 13 February 1898 in Lodz, Poland. Father -- a tinsmith. She began to act in her early years of eleven or twelve years old. Early on Spilman (Lodzha Spilman's [later -- Feld] mother) had assembled a children's troupe and performed in a garden behind Lodz's "Msh khit". Soon thereafter she directed with the same children's troupe the actor Chaim (later Hyman) Yakobovitsh's "Hertsele myukhs" in the local "Flora" Theatre, then in the "Grand" Theatre Lakhtiger's "Der strasen-zinger (The Street Singer)" with every song. The First World War disrupted the productions of that troupe.

During the First World War, Sh. traveled, together with her sister Esther, with a troupe across cities ad towns, under very harsh conditions, until she went over to act, together with Lola Patroni, under the direction of Samuel Kuperman, in  the larger provincial cities, in such operettas as "Di sheyne berta", "Hoplia mir lebn", "Malvinka vil azoy" et al. Then she went over to Lodz's "Skala" Theatre (under the direction of Kuperman), later with Bozyk and Balbirski in the "Flora" Theatre, summer tour across the province under the leadership of Lubeltshik with Yedvab, Kelter, David Beygelman et al, again with Bozyk in the "Flora" Theatre, a short time across the province with Zalmen and Morris Zylbercweig, Sh.'s brother and sister, Yakov and Esther Shefner and Shlomo Kutner in a miniature program, then in the troupe of Itskovits, who also acted in Galicia and some months in the troupe of Glimer. From there there was arranged, with her brother Jacob, to director Jacob. 1920 traveled to Prague, Courland, from there to Frankfurt-au-Main, where she acted in a beginning Yiddish cabaret, then with Berlin's Yiddish actors and Esther Perlman, Yiddish theatre.


In Frankfurt she entered into the arriving Yiddish troupe from Paris [Arnstein, Epstein, Piekarnik and wife, et al.), where they acted for several months, also in Leipzig with Simcha Postel.

She married a private man, and Sh. decided to withdraw from acting; however, there were actors who used to come to act, always used to talk her into coming back(?). The same occurred when she settled in Brussels, Belgium, where she acted with Clara Young, Misha Fishzon, Rachel Rosenfeld, Abe Karp. 1932 -- settled in Paris, and since then had left the stage, maintaining however a narrow contact with Yiddish artists.

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 4923.

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