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> BENJAMIN EPSTEIN
Lexicon of the Yiddish
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN
THE Yiddish THEATRE;
IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"
VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City
E. was born on 1 December
1899 in Vilna, Polish Lithuania. His parents were owners
of a wine business. He learned in a cheder, and after
his father's death he was raised by his grandfather, who
took him to the townspeople, where E. learned in a
yeshiva. At the age of nine, he went off to Vilna, where
he learned with his grandfather and then completed eight
classes of a Russian early school.
In 1909 he performed
"theatre" in Russian by himself in homes with his school
friends, the actors-to-be Joseph Buloff [Bulkin] and
Osya Shteyn [Kamien], in improvised "plays."
During the First World War
he transformed his mother's wine cellar into a "theatre"
and acted there with the aforementioned for admission
money. Later for one-and-a-half years he was conductor
of the band for the German occupying forces. In 1917 he
participated as an assistant theatre director in Buloff's
offering of Dymov's "The Singer of his Sorrows,"
and in February 1918 he entered into the Vilna Jewish State Theatre under the name of Azro.
Soon thereafter he participated in the sporadic
productions under the direction of Shteyn, Morevsky,
then a season with Lipovski. In 1920 he was with
Kaminski and Turkow, then under the direction of David
Herman. For six months he left the stage and worked in a
leather factory. E. participated again in various Warsaw
Yiddish troupes. In 1923 he was in the Vilna drama, in
1926 with "Vik't,"
with whom he went on tour in Romania. For a certain time
E. returned to the Vilna Yiddish Theatre, then managed
with various Yiddish troupes across the Polish province.
S. Katsherginski writes:
"In the Vilna Ghetto he was director of a theatre.
His good administrative activity created for the
theatre a bamtdike institute, with which we would
also able to proudly visit in our free time. He was killed in Klooga
His wife, Fanya
Epstein-Kaminska, a pianist, also was murdered by
from Dora Rabina.
"Lexicon of the
Yiddish Theatre," Warsaw, 1934, Vol. II, pp.
-- "Khurbn vilna," New York,1947, p. 223.
Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the "Lexicon
of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig,
Volume 5, page 4195.
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