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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  S. KORNTEYER


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

 

S. Kornteyer


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 dramaturgy."

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 was said:

"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' Theatre."

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 writes:

"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 them ...

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 episode:

"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 Zylbercweig.

  • Jonas Turkow -- "Azoy iz es geven," Buenos Aires, 1948, pp. 14, 205.

  • Jonas Turkow -- "Extinguished Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. 1, pp. 104-105.

  • Ber Mark -- "Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern," Warsaw, 1954, p. 52.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4258.
 

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