The Professional Yiddish Theatre in Mexico
by Morris Gelber, Yiddish actor



"I arrived in Mexico on June 12, 1927, as an envoy of the theatre company for which I worked in Havana, Cuba. This company was composed of Morris Gelber, Rosa Braun, Genia Gelber, Leon and Zila (Celia) Zuckerberg, Nathan and Sarah Guinter, besides Aaron Alexandrof.

In 1925 we had left Argentina on a tour of Latin America, arriving finally in Havana, where we learned that in Mexico there was developing a nice community. The theatre company sent me to probe the ground in order to present plays in Yiddish on Mexican soil.

 Mr. Kapulsky introduced me to Mr. Barukh and Mr. Katz -- the latter was once a stage actor -- who accepted care of the travel expenses of my colleagues. Both Mr. Barukh and Mr. Katz contributed, each with 100 dollars. Mr. Goldman, who ran a steamship agency, was ready to [supply] the tickets. On Sunday, July 3, 1927, the theatre season began  in Mexico City. The first play, 'The Wedding Dress', was a success, exceeding all expectations.

Each week, we worked in the Teatro 'Abreu'. One fateful day, with the arrival of another company, we ran out of a forum. Lacking local [support], we moved to the "Jewish Association Young Men" [building] on Tacuba 15. During the following years, we had guest stars such as Joseph Shoengold, the Goldsteins and Clara Young. Unfortunately, with the decreasing interest in Yiddish theatre, the actors began to disperse.

 When 'der weg'  appeared, the Yiddish theatre was revived thanks to the support of this Jewish newspaper, which took care of contacting the Yiddish authors who, little by little, we were encountering.

When our colleague Leon Zuckerberg died in 1935, it left a deep hole in our theatre. Braun and a servant built our own theatre, so that we would not have to rent one....We were all well-received. At the inauguration there were Zigmund Turkoff and Esther Perelman. Unfortunately we could not meet our expenditures, though we felt the need to deliver a theatre. Messrs. The Brauns, my wife and I are looking for other occupations. Now that we have returned to Mexico, we are thinking again of establishing a Yiddish theatre.

Included here are the names of the first actors who worked with us: Sh. Kapulsky, I. Unikel, L. Lubinsky and I. Zweiman. Among the invited artists were Ostro and Wallerstein, Kroner, Psakevich, Ludwig, Zack, Zanger, Fishman, Goldstein, Aisman, Gertler, Abraham Lax, Baratz, A. Teitelbaum, Ethel and Abe Dorf, Betty Komapeneyets and Leon Rabinovich." 







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