Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre




David Tselmeister

According to Grisha Rotstein,  in Warsaw on Elektoralna Street, Ts. with a brother had a men's ready-made clothing business. His wife was the best sheitel (wig) maker before the face of the pious Jewish women and had a small factory on Bielanska Street, where she was also the owner of a house. Ts. felt a huge desire for theatre, and still in 1917 he was hired to put into the "Kaminski" Theatre in Yiddish with Zina Goldstein and Herman Serotsky, the European operetta, "Di dolar-printsesin." he also brought Grman actors during the German Occupation for Warsaw, and it was a director of a Polish variety theatre with dancers, the future world-famous Pola Negri, and the Yiddish actor Sh. Landau (under the name of Stalski). Then Ts. went over to the "Central" Theatre, in which he performed with Bren and Ryba. There there was staged European operettas, among others "Di tsirkus-kenigin," and striving strongly alone to play on the stage, he had once, for his evening of honor, played in the operetta the role of the "circus director." Before that he specially allowed himself to wear a costume; a red-collared suit, dressed in boots, held a handgun, made up with aroyfgedreyte vanses, but with the role he played he was angry, and this, once and for all seemed to him -- he never played anymore. The business was bad. Ts. lost a lot of money. he remained strongly in debt, but here he did something that no other Yiddish theatre director had done: He sold his house and paid off all debts.

Ts. then carried himself over to Lodz, and presented Molly Picon and Jacob Kalich in Lodz and in Warsaw, and generally led in two directions: Warsaw and Lodz. In 1925 he was director in Lodz of the troupe, which played in Warsaw's "Central" Theatre, when in Lodz there guest-starred with him Sam Auerbach and Sadie Shoengold.

In 1932 Ts. was the director of the Lodz "Philharmonic" Theatre, where Jacob Rechtzeit from America guest-starred.

In 1933 he was director of the "Poylishes" Theatre in Lodz, where there guest-starred Al. Granach, and then Michal Michalesko. Ts. also was the director in Lodz during the guest-appearance of Maurice Schwartz with the troupe (Polish-formed).

Ts. also got his daughter excited about theatre, and in the thirtieth year opened with her a "Revi Cosmopolitan," for which he spent a lot of money.

According to the actor Zalman Koleshnkov, Ts. had, during the Second World War, worked in the administration of "Baveglekhn Yiddish melukhe-teater (Movable Yiddish State Theatre)," but he asked him to be released from the theatre because of his relationship with the actors, who constantly rejected his attitude to them, asking him to be a director and often described him as an "explorer." His bride was to travel to his family in Lemberg, but the tsufal hot gevolt that he had been dragged to Russia, where he found his death.

His wife had survived in Israel, where she later passed away. His oldest son, Alec, former husband of the the actress Fania Rubina, was killed by the Nazis, and the son Henrik died in Tel Aviv. The son Max continued to live in Haifa, Israel.

Zalmen Zylbercweig characterizes him as such:

"Ts. was an exception of the other Yiddish theatre directors. Already, almost all the others likewise were actors, and in the first instance did not treat their undertakings from a commercial point of view, but from their artistic point of view, on how it met their artistic ambitions. Ts., however, had a purely business approach. He was, by all means, a merchant and widespread proprietor. He did not shy away from a failure. If a certain undertaking had brought him a deficit. He did not fall into despair, but soon tried a second. Although not overly intelligent and with an eye on the case, at the request of Masovan theater visitors. After all, he had always moved to greater performances, to better repertoires, whether it was about the drama or the drama. His word was a guarantee for honesty and accuracy, and accused of himself, which he is a theatre director."

M.E. from Grisha Rotstein, Henrik Littman, Nathan Wolfovitsh and Zalmen Kaleshnikov.

Sh.E. from Zalmen Zylbercweig.





Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4684.

Copyright   Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.