Born on 19 April 1858 in
Kremenitz, Volin Gubernia. His father was a non-Orthodox
rabbi. He completed a four-class gymnasium and a
rabbinical school in Zhitomir. After the gymnasium, he
participated in the student productions.
As a close relative of
Goldfaden, W. was taken into his troupe in Odessa, in
Remeslengi club, and later in Marinsky's Theatre, his
first roles were: "Giberman" in Goldfaden's "Breindele
Kozak", "the father" in "Di kaprizne tokhter", "Mnukh"
After a short time, G. sent
him out with a troupe to the province, and thus W.
traveled through Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Kurland,
Lifland, Lettland, again Poland, Rumania, Galicia,
Austria, Hungary. Most of the time he acted in the
troupe in cellars, cities, magazines, and very few in
the halls or special theatre stages. Many times the
troupe used to go on foot from one city into the other.
In 1883 W. acted with his
troupe in Lodz in the Folks Theatre, but due to recovery
of the Yiddish theatre, he traveled with his troupe
(Goldschmidt, Aba Schoengold with his wife Montshikl,
Sara Goldstein -- later Karp, Leyzer Tsukerman, Mindel
Tsukerman, Kaufman, Zak's wife, Shaul Weinstein, Rosa
Weinstein, Spivakovsky, Zorakh Vinovitsh, Betty
Vinovitsh, Lipzin, Sofia Fridman) to Germany as the
"Oriental Operetta Society", acting in "Shulamis" in
"German" under the name "Di tokhter fun orient".
For several months he acted
with the troupe in "Shulamit" in Kenigsberg, Danzig,
Berlin and Leipzig, where they were forbid to stage the
subsequent productions because the theatre only had a
concession as a vaudeville theatre. After a short time
acting in Breslau and Kenigsberg, W. traveled to Poland,
where he wandered around for a year across the province,
until he arrived at the El Dorado Theatre in Warsaw, and
he began once more to act in "Shulmais" in "German".
However, the Yiddish public didn't understand the
German, and W. had to begin to return to the Yiddish "Shulamis".
In order to receive the police permission to perform in
Yiddish, W. was forced to stay at his own expense with a
Russian operetta trope, which could act for half of a
week in the same theatre.
In the span of the two years
that he acted in Warsaw, W. also brought here Goldfaden
and Sheykevitsh. Then W. acted for a short time in Lodz
and was engaged to Treitler in Krakow, traveling later
across the Galician province and then as Gimpel opened a
Yiddish theatre in Lemberg, W. participated there. In
1889 W. traveled with several actors to Paris in the
Goldfaden troupe, and a half-year later, he went
together with Goldfaden back to Lemberg, then he
organized his own troupe, with whom he acted in the span
of several years across Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria,
Serbia, Turkey and Egypt. Later W. acted in the troupes
of Rumania, Czernowitz, Galicia, Budapest, Berlin, again
Budapest and Berlin, from where he traveled, in 1901, on
the initiative of the guest-starring Thomashefsky, to
America, where he acted almost with every Yiddish troupe
from America and Canada.
W. also from time to time
took up with chazzanut (cantors). In the last
years, living in Chicago, W. was not accustomed to act
periodically in the local troupes. At the end of the
season of 1929-30, W. traveled across the province with
Michalesko's guest-starring troupe, and on 2 April 1930,
he passed away in Milwaukee from whence they had entered
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, pp. 238, 240; Vol. II,
Jacob Kirschenbaum --
Kunst un kinstler, "Di idishe velt", Cleveland, 14
Lead Pencil -- A
gezunter guf mit a farbenkter neshamah, "Forward",
Chicago, 25 April 1919.
Sh. Zamd -- Hot
gelebt oyf der bine un iz geshtorbn oyf der bine,
"Forward", Chicago, 7 April 1930.