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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  YAKOV OBOZHANEK


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


 

Yakov Obozhanek


Born in 1891 in Lodz, Poland. He learned in a cheder. Early on he became an artisan. Until the First World War he worked in a manufacturing business. He began with writing jokes and satirical comments in 1913 in the "Nayer lodzer morgn-blat (New Lodz Morning Page)." In 1918 he began to publish humorous songs in the humoristic department of the "Lodzer togeblat," then also monologues and small scenes on local themes. After the closing in 1931 of the "Lodzer togeblat," O. had, until the Second World war, collaborated in "Dos naye folksblat."

O. wrote humorous monologues for the Yiddish small-arts theatres. He began with humorous-satirical monologues, especially for the actor Hershl Yedwab, later going over to write monologues and short scenes for "Azazel," "Ararat," and "Yidishe bande."

On 25 January 1938 in the Lodz Philharmonic Hall, his twenty-year writer jubilee was celebrated, issuing in his honor a special volume, "Nayer folksbat," with articles about him by Y. Unger, Moshe Broderzon, Iosef Okrutny, L. Berman and Israel Rosenberg. It published his book "Nadir un zayn nisht."

In the first day of September 1939 he, together with the editor Y. Uger and other Lodz Yiddish writers, were arrested by the Gestapo and became settled in the Radogashtsh concentration camp, behind Lodz, from where it started in 1943, where he died in the Warsaw Ghetto.

I. Okrutny characterized him so:

"For the wider audience who consume Yiddish literature, the name of Yakov Obozhanek sounds strange. This name, however, is deeply popular in Lodz and its environs, among the wide layers of Jewish newspaper readers in Polish Manchester. Here Obozhanek was at least beloved.

It would have been wrong to mark Yakov Obozhanek's humor as satire, although his writing occasionally avoids mockery. To be honest in the evaluation of the writer of the "bottom line," it must be said that his humor is a humor for the sake of humor. He accompanied this with the adherence to the self-adulterous blemishes, the inexperienced social careers, the unsurpassed creatures of all kinds, and so on. His hatefulness is rooted in the circumstance that our lives are all lethargic, drought-prone, and tragic to the power of laughter. His ability to put a smile on our faces, even a loud laugh, Obozhanek hardly ever betrayed.

Obozhanek is according to the writer's patent -- popular -- but popular according to the style of the "Lodz mentsh," although the forerunner of the many humoresques, monologues, actual feuilletons, sketches and dialogues, which have been read for many years, and heard from tens of thousands of Jews in the press, from the stage and [patepon-plitn], he had due to his special style and form, did not appear to appear on the path of the general Jewish  readership.

According to R. Shoshanah Kahan, in her book, "In fayer un flamen" (23 September 1939), "Here comes to us the son of the writer Obozhanek, a refugee from Lodz. He is hungry. I gave him something to eat. Again a powerful punch. The cup falls out of his mouth. He also falls for himself. He has a will to run, and before we look out - there is none. He fled."

His fate is unknown.

  • "Lexicon of the New Yiddish Literature," New York, 1956.

  • R. Shoshanah Kahan -- "In Fire and Flames," Buenos Aires, 1949, p. 48.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4683.
 

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