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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  LEYB KUZNETSOV


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

 

Leyb Kuznetsov


Born in 190.... His father, who lived to over one hundred years of age and was a blacksmith and a sexton. Also his mother had lodged older types.

Shabtai Bliakher writes about him:

"Already in the year 1919-1921 the strong boy Kuznetsov, twenty-year-old at the time, traveled around with the itinerant troupe across the small Lithuanian towns, wandering together with Avraham Strietman, [Itzhak] Nozyk, [Zishe] Katz. Often hungry, he once sold his jacket to pay for the hotel. And although most of the time he did not go to the theatre [perhaps because he had no great ability to play], he joined the theatre, with a small amount of pay, held for over ten years. He wandered around from one corner of Poland to the second, with an act and by feet, but he held a theatre, had love for the theatre, the environment, Bohemians. ...He didn't act, he used to be a business leader for a troupe. If not a business leader, a prompter, assistant stage director, but everything at the theatre. Sometimes when things were getting quite tight, he would, for a short time, start trading or working in wood (he was married in a wood brakarei), but after a short time he would return back to the theatre. He had a lot of love for everyone in the theatre, with everyone he was 'pon-brati,' from the smallest stage work to the greatest star. And he used to take a shot of liquor, whether for his troubles, or for joy, he used to at first open his mouth, and then he used to spare no one, not even himself. 'Leyb Kuznetsov had the last word -- it was his beloved look. The last word, however it was the first, middle and last."

About his last period and tragic end, Sh. Bliacher writes:

When the theatre in Vilna became corrupted, Kuznetsov transferred from the stage, where he was active as an actor. As a leader of the tailor's workshop at the theatre. And here he suddenly found himself. At the theater as well as an appropriate job, which ensured a livelihood for his wife and child. It burned the work behind him. The wardrobe master of the theatre turned into a large, confectionary camp: costumes, boots, shoes, women's clothes, hats. Everything was there. And Liova Kuznetsov used to open the toilets of the cupboards, look at the clothes, and his big eyes used to blend in. 'All ours, no need to worry, a wealth!", and the garments looked as if they were alive. ...One time, at night, walking slightly tipsy into the theatre, he locked himself in the walls of the theatre. When people were made aware of it, that he would still throw in the gate, he answered quite seriously: "Everything I can, it's ours!" He continued that now he will always be easy, and good, and he will live longer than his fathers."

When the Germans took Vilna, he was one of the first to be taken. His beloved stage was dragged out of the theatre, and therefore made him responsible. In those days the judgment was brief. Many Jews had already taken their final steps in prison, Another one came, and another 'farzindiker.' In a few months time, when an entire series of Vilna streets were emptied, instead in the ghetto, included in prison was the wife of Kuznetsov. The artist Tsile Stroshun, with her seven-year-old boy Barke, As she entered prison alone, she left the basement to look for her husband. And she cried for a while: "Liove, where are you, Liove?" He could not hear... They had taken him away.

  • Sh. Bliakher-- "Eyn un tsvantsik un eyner," New York, 1962, pp. 81-83.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4055.
 

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