P. was born in 1890 in
Warsaw, Poland, into a rich, religious family. His
father was the owner of a manufacturing business.
A well-read student with a serious attitude about Yiddish
literature and theatre, at age sixteen he became a
member of "Hazamir," and at eighteen he performed under
the direction of Sh. L. Handwohl [S. Wohl] in the
dramatic amateur troupe "Gordin," from which there later
emerged an entire group of professional actors: Shtokfeder, Rozen, Rotman, Gutharts, Lederman, Shulveys,
Mendelevitsh, Epstein, Norflus and Lampe.
After some years' time P.
led a double life: at home he wore a long caftan and a
black, round tukhn hitele, and in the street or
across the province where he used to tour with the
amateur troupe, he used to wear a short coat, a hat and
a cape. The "over-clothes" used to come in a kaviarnye, from
the "home" of Yiddish actors and amateurs, on Milagasse
In 1912 P. left his home and
included himself in Lerman's professional troupe with
whom he toured across many cities in
Poland, Russia and the Ukraine. Then he acted in father
roles, in the troupes of Zhitomirsky, Guzik et al.
During the First World War,
he returned to Warsaw, and his parents, who had earlier derveytert
from him, betn themselves over
to him, and came to see him act. Later he traveled again
across Poland, and after the Russian Revolution also