Zalmen Zylbercweig writes:
"All efforts to determine
the date and place of his birth were not submitted. I
think, however, that around 1918 he suddenly appeared in
Lodz's Yiddish theatre. At our first contact he was not
friendly because he was given the name as the translator
of Lermontov's play, 'Yidish blut (Jewish Blood)' (later
'Shpanier' in original), which was immediately
translated by my brother Nathan. A little later Julius
Adler performed in his translation of Shakespeare's
'Othello.' He was an entirely intelligent young man, had
possessed several languages, and had a desire for
From Lodz he went over to
Warsaw, which he made for his permanent living space. In
1926 he was engaged in the local "Skala" Theatre, for
which he had written the text to the songs for Dymow's "Yoshke
muzikant." In July 1927 in the "Skala" Theatre, there
was staged the operetta, "Velvele shmednik," in his
adaptation, music adapted from Sh. Weintraub and D.
Beigelman, and in a notice in "Literarishe bleter" it
"This piece is packed with
dance and singing, with zeal. The content is not wholly
'pure art,' but it does not hurt. The acting of Ana
Grosberg, H. Fenigshteyn, I. Feld, A. Ayzenberg cover
the shortcomings of the piece, and the bad acting of the
others. It is not bad, that the music is from popular
songs. 'Velvele shmednik" will excel at the 'Skala'
K. wrote many numbers for
the revue theatre, "Sambatyon."
In 1935 he participated as
an actor with Alexander Granach in the performance of
Kacyzne's "Velt-gevisn" in Lodz.
About his last activities,
Jonas Turkow writes:
"Due to the difficulties
that I had in the last years of the (Second World-) War,
coming out of a theatre concession, I had to use various
methods. With the last tour with 'Freud's Theory of
Dreams,' the well-known songwriter and operetta author
Y. (S.) Kornteyer, this came out of General Berbetski,
the head of the League for Air Defense in Poland, A
paper to all voivodeships and starastes, that they
should give us permission to play Yiddish theatre, as we
give a certain percentage from the receipts to the Air
Defense League. Could it be a better document? And yet,
the majority [I emphasize: the vast majority] in the
western areas refused to release us. Such permissible
motives were various: 'Jews need not deal with air
defense,' 'Waive Jewish help,' 'When you play in Polish,
you will receive such permission,' and other such
'patriotic' answers ... "
During the first Occupation
of Poland, S. became driven in with his family into the
ghetto. Also here he was always active.
About this Jonas Turkow
"His constant songwriter was
Y. (S.) Kornteyer, who had written the actual songs,
especially for (David) Zeiderman. The song, 'Glokn
klingen,' had touched on an episode of the Jews who had
been converted to Christianity, when they heard on Yom
Kippur the bells and whistles, the significance that the
present day was heard, and what the "little Jew" aroused
In the Warsaw Ghetto there
were, As it is well known, all converted Jews, and even
those who were already born as Christians were expelled,
but parents who were once Jews were also counted as
Jews. The number of converted Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto
was home to many thousands They had their own church
with their own church.) And they were pouring through
gates, when they heard that Zeiderman sing the song, 'Glokn
klingen,' or, 'Vuhin zol ir gayn,' This song today
is sung across the entire world by various singers, and
each one gives another author of the song. Truth be
told, I emphasize that the song was created in the
ghetto, by none other than Y. (S.) Kornteyer, who alone
was killed in the gas chambers."
In another place, Turkow
noted that the song, "Moshe, akh, Moshe," which Simkha
Postel had sung in the ghetto, S writes.
According to the Marxist
literature critic Ber Mark, the following, touching
"In a request to the
management of the public kitchen, number 145, the
Yiddish operetta author S. Kornteyer portrays the sad
economic conditions: He was expelled from his apartment.
He remained together with his two children, naked and
barefoot. It is therefore free of charge for the
children. 'Save my two children" -- the desperate father
calls out. This letter concludes Kornteyer with the hope
that the Jews will have a happy future yet."
Sh.E. from Zalmen
Jonas Turkow -- "Azoy
iz es geven," Buenos Aires, 1948, pp. 14, 205.
Jonas Turkow --
"Extinguished Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. 1,
Ber Mark -- "Umgekumene
shrayber fun di getos un lagern," Warsaw, 1954, p.