Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Beynish Zilbershtayn

 Born in 1902 in the village of Vampyezshov (Wampierzów), Torner region, Western Galicia. Later his parents moved to Lodz. He learned in a cheder from his father, a poor melamed, then secular studies by himself. In 1909 he traveled by wagon, and broke a hand and a foot, but due to the need at home, he had to go to work; at first as a furrier/hatter, then as a pliush weaver, a tailor, later a private teacher, a theatre prompter for an vaudeville troupe in Baluty, and an office employee. During the First World War, he was sent away by the Germans to do pliers(?) work to Lita (Lithuania) and "ober ost". He returned to Poland and became a co-founder of the socialist youth organization "Tsukunft" and toured with speeches/presentations across Poland. In 1921 he went over to the Left.

1932-35 -- underwent various illnesses and lay in the hospital in Warsaw. From 1935 he lived in Antwerp, Belgium, where he had a haberdashery and paper shop, at the same time active in the local Yiddish cultural life, co-founder of the presidium membership of "Ikuf" (1937) and his Belgian secretary (?).

In the beginning, he wrote in 1916 as a reporter in Lazar Kahan's "Lodzer folkslbat", then published songs and poems, stories, novels, reportages and literary critiques in various periodical editions and issued  eleven books, including the dramatic satire "Der kenig" (Warsaw, 1932, 32 pp.), and the dramatic reportage "Baruch Shulman" (Warsaw, 1934, 48 pp.), which was staged at the end of 1936 in Paris under the direction of Jacob Mandelblit and later in Argentina.

In 1957 his wife issued in Paris her book of collected songs.

When the Germans took Belgium, Z. became active in the underground movement against the Nazis.

In June 1942 he was taken away to Northern France for work, and then was deported to Auschwitz. As it was told an ed-raih, that together with him there were taken away, He even appeared to save himself  by jumping off the train and then hiding for two years among Belgians, but already at the transport he was going to oysgeboygn with oysgerundiktn rukn as a passport from the beaten (?), which the Germans had given him.

Accordingly as his widow, Bina Zilberstein, was moved by a newly saved Jew from the Auschwitz camp, and Z. in November 1942 was murdered in Auschwitz in the following way: together with a group of Belgian Jews, he was led to the gas chambers. In a certain moment, among the victims oysgebokhn a bunt, and he had, the first, caught a stone and threw him to one of the slain(?). An S. S. person had thereof shot him on the spot.

  • Yeshaya Zandberg -- "Funken in der nakht", Tel Aviv, 1965, pp. 27-35.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4787.

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