Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Rafael Smargonski (Smargon)

Born on 27 August 1904 in Riga, Lettland (Latvia). Father -- a shoe trader. He learned in cheders and in "Yigdil Torah" Cheder under the supervision of Riga Chief Rabbi Zak. He completed a folkshul. As a youth he sang in the local large choral school with Cantor Baruch Leib Rozovski, and often with other chorus youths he was employed as a solo singer in the chorus of a Yiddish theatre (Director: Kompaneyets).

In 1916 he staged with a youth theatre, which performed professional theatre repertoire. 1917 -- engaged in the troupe one of them as a prompter. 1920 -- in a dramatic theatre of L. Sokolov, 1922 -- again with Kompaneyets, where Esther Rukhl Kaminska also guest-starred later again with Sokolov until 1926, when he founded in Riga the "New Jewish State Theatre". (Later the "Yiddish Meutim Theatre"), where he was active as a prompter and actor with a series of the prominent guest-starring Yiddish actors from America.

M. also toured for four years with an itinerant troupe across the province of Lita (Lithuania), Lettland (Latvia) and Estonia (with actor Julius Rakov), and then with Julius Adler in Lita.

1926-27 -- S. was found with the dramatic section of the Riga "Gurdunyah" (Bialik Club).

S. continued in Riga, where he was involved with local troupes.


According to Youna Radinov, S., together with his wife, were shot in the Riga ghetto by the German occupiers during the Second World War in 1941.

Sh. E. and Sh. E. from Youna Radinov.

  • M. Kitay -- Der suflyor fun idishen teater rfal smarganski, "Riger frimorgn", Riga, 29 April 1930.

  • A. Wasserman -- A shtiler benefis, "Riger tog", 30 April 1930.

  • M. Kitay -- Benefis fun rfal smarganski -- "Riger frimorgn", 30 April 1930.

  • A. Zelber -- Portretn galerey fun undzere idishe artistn, "Nayer fraytik", Riga, 27 February 1931.

  • M. Kitay -- Benefis fun "dray", "Riger frimorgn", Riga, 25 April 1933.

  • M. Gertz -- Benefis fun mzumn, "Riger tog", Riga, 26 April 1933.

  • R. Gordon -- Benefis fun dray, "Riger ovnt post", Riga, 25 April 1933.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4194.

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