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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  AARON BASTOMSKI


Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE;
aS FEATURED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S  "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"


VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City

 

Aaron Bastomski

Born in 1907 in Vilna, Polish Lithuania, into a family of working people. His father was a carpenter. He completed the folksshul of "Mefitse haskalah," and not having any opportunity to continuing his learning, he was forced to help his father in his carpentry workshop, but this did not hinder him from becoming active with societal-cultural work.

Early on he became active in the Bundist youth organization, "Tsukunft," writing humoresques, articles and feuilletons for the wall and living [vant-un-lebedike] newspapers. As one of the most active folklore collectors for "YIVO," he took the course taught by Y.L. Cahan and later visited an entire series of cities and towns of the Vilna province.

In the various programs that the "Maydim" Theatre (founded in 1933) had staged in Vilna, and later in Warsaw, Lodz, Grodno and other cities and towns of Poland and Lita, there were tens of numbers (images, songs and scenes), which B. had written or created scenes for (under the auspices of the scene creation of Kulbak's "Meshiakh ben efrim," Opotashu's "Lintsherey.")

B. also published articles (under the pseudonym "Abe") about Yiddish cultural themes in the "Foroys," Warsaw's "Folkstsaytung," "Vilner tog," "Vilner togblat" and "Vilner emes," "Grininke baymelekh," and in anniversary collections from "Mefitse haskalah" school.

B. was a manager-member of the Vilna theatre society, "Vilbig"; in South Africa "Davke."

In the German Occupation he worked (with his wife) as a carpenter in the peat camp Reshe. In 1943 he was put into the Vilna Ghetto, then he was taken away to Estonia. He was killed in the summer of 1944 in the shocking massacre in the Klooge camp. In a photograph taken of the destruction, immediately when the Red Army arrived, also to see as among the untergetsundene kletzer shtart on the head of the shot Bastomski.

His wife was killed in Majdanek, his brother was killed in Kovno in the Ninth Fort.

B.'s sister is the wife of Israel's Interior Minister Moshe Shapiro.

Yekhiel Burgin portrays him as such:

"The young man with a smartly crossed head and large stars, with the native folk unity and simplicity, standing in the VARSHAFT by the boards [?], dreaming about many other things, and quite often he used to FARVARFN DEM HIBL and with a pencil in hand began to draw on the boards ideas and thoughts, which he had occurred to him, or rather compile couplets on political-social life themes. Indeed his mother used to complain that from her Aaron will no longer be a master craftsman.

On an Easter spring day in 1933 he was inspired to create a marionette theatre. In addition the marionette theatre 'Modjacot,' which had guest-starred in Vilna, soon found help: the writers of the lines, Hirsh Parudominski, Ben Zion Michtam, Aaron Bastomski, had alone put on the first program and wrote the greatest part of the texts on actual themes, and with a basic humor, alone built the stage for the dolls and by himself stage directed the program. The try was successful, and it came to Vilna with an original theatre collective.

The sings were even greater, because Aaron Bastomski did not possess any special theatre education, not completing any theatre study, but continued his theatrical [activities] from the various amateur circles, and from the professional theatre ensembles that guest-starred in Vilna.

The motto of the 'Maydim' Theatre was 'Not a laughing matter, but laughing' everything that is bad and negative.

During the Second World War when the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union, 'Maydim" ended its existence. Aaron Bastomski's life ended in 1943 in the camps of Estonia. The great disaster would not come in 1941, Aaron Bastomski would certainly reach a gray stage in the Yiddish theatre world."


Sh.E. from Israel Segal and Yekhiel Burgin.

  • "Lexicon of the New Yiddish Literature," New York, 1956, Vol. 1, pp. 225-226.

  • Sh. Kaczerginski -- "The Destruction of Vilna," N.Y., 1947, p. 221.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4359.
 

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