During the Nazi
invasion, Zak participated in the defense of Warsaw,
fled from there to Bialystok where he joined the
Yiddish state theatre
traveling deep into Russia. He had a very difficult
time [” suffered seven sections of
hell”] wandering in cold and hot places (he later
wrote about these experiences in “People and Land”
and other periodical publications), then joined a
Yiddish troupe that Ida Kaminska had organized in
Being a Polish
citizen, he returned to Poland at the end of the war
and lead a Yiddish state theatre in Lower Silesia
with Itzhak Grudberg and Jacob Korleander.
Seeing no purpose in his work there, he traveled to
Paris where he managed [the local “Icut”[?] for a
while and managed Hirshbein’s “Green Fields” and
Sholem Aleichem’s “It’s Hard to Be a Jew”.
From Paris he went to America and settled
there. There he received the opportunity to act with the troupes
of Schwartz, Jacob Ben-Ami and Jonas Turkow. Zak,
with Max Bozyk and R. Shoshana managed the
cooperative troupe at New York’s Educational
For a while,
Zak worked at administrative jobs at YIVO in New
York, and at the same time he used to manage YIVO’s
radio programs and published articles about theatre
in Yiddish periodicals.
Zak was the Executive
Secretary of the Folksbiene in New York and also
performed in their plays.
Zak translated the
following Israeli plays: A. Megged’s “I Like Mike”,
Nathan Shacham’s “They Will Come Tomorrow”, “A Boat
on the Seashore” and ” Hannah Senesh” with the
cooperation of David Bass. Shifra Lehrer played
the role of Senesh in Argentina.
Zak also wrote
“Yiddish Theatre in Towns and Villages”
and “Yiddish Theatre in Europe,” published by the
all world Jewish Congress[?], New York, 1968.
Zak’s brother, Matityahu,
was the stage manager of the Kameri theatre in
Sh. E. and
Sh. E. from Max Bozyk.
“Lexicon of the Yiddish
Theatre”, New York, 1931, p.757.
Famous actor Sheftel Zak and his wife visit Israel,
“Letze Nayes”, Tel Aviv, 15 July 1968.
cooperation with David Bass.