In 1911 he
traveled to Austria, playing in Galicia and Bukovina in
various Yiddish troupes, then in a German variety, later
in the Yiddish operetta trope in Vienna (Tsugartenshtrase),
and in the "Vinger Yiddish Stage," where he remained
until 1917. In 1918 he was engaged for Krakow as a stage
director and actor in the local Yiddish operetta
theatre, and from there he created a tour across
Bukovina, and since 1921 V. continued to play in Poland.
In 1914 V.,
as he writes in his autobiography, went over to Vienna
to the Jewish faith, receiving the name of Shlomo ben
Avraham. Jonas Turkow writes that as people had said,
V.'s parents were gypsies. V. also knew Hebrew well and
mastered the Yiddish language in word and script, and he
said to Turkow that he had converted in 1914 in
Budapest. In his documents it was written down that he
was a Christian. However, he was mixed.
years V. played with Jonas Turkow in Warsaw and in the
province. In Warsaw he played in the "Kamaral bine
(Cameral Stage)" at Bielanska 7.
autobiography, to the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre,"
in full Yiddish, he wrote with red mint, and remarked
that he wrote "Mitn blut fun mayn harttsu."
characterizes him this way:
like a specific gypsy. He was of a middle weight, firmly
built, with a characteristic gypsy face with two black,
burning eyes, with pitch black hair on his head.
Vayngold was a magnificent character player with a
roaring temper. From each role he created a virtual
masterwork. He has not played any singing lovers,
because he drowned out his lovely vocal. He would
certainly take one of the first positions in Yiddish
theatre, when When not passionate about the bitter
drops. He was a chronic alcoholic and often fell into a
state of delirium. I admired him for his great talent,
and therefore I have looked away from his 'weakness' and
hired him for my theatre. Because of his weakness of the
flesh, he had however always known his roles from the
outside (We used to play without a prompter), and never
went astray. With his colleague-actors
he behaved well and never
quarreled with them. If it ever came to a quarrel, it
was only when he got upset, when one of the actors badly
uttered a Hebrew word. 'I hate stupid people from the
bottom of my heart.' -- he cried out.
Turkow recalls an
episode when the troupe played in the Polish city of
Lentshitz, where there was a huge amount of anti-Semitic
mood, and out of fear of an attack from Polish
hooligans, the audience of theatre-goers soon after the
production, quickly left for home, and the entire troupe
together went away in the direction of the hotel, where
it stood, but here as if from under the earth grew up a
band of Polish hooligans, and they fell upon the actors
with knives and flesh. There was bloodshed, but to
everyone's amazement, the first disappearance of a
"battlefield." When they got rid of them, he answered:
"I was afraid that my doglike, gentile blood will become
inflamed within me, and that I would put to death a few
anti-Semites. I decided it would be better not to take
part in the battle. So I went to have drink and drown my
troubles. Later on I earned another mitzvah. I saved
Lentshitz from a pogrom."
writes about him in his memoirs:
born a Christian, a Romanian, a round orphan. From his
early childhood, he remained alone in the world, and he
was surrounded by Jewish minds, and as such he had by
himself was raised among Jews, and with the Yiddish
language., until he, thanks to his beautiful voice,
became a choir boy in a Yiddish theatre, and later also
an actor and exactly a good actor. After his father his
name was Voika, but he gave himself the name Vayngold,
and until today remained a secret. So the neglected poor
orphan turned out to teach writing and reading in
Romanian and German, and even more we wonder why
Vayngold has been able to write and read Yiddish better
than many of the Yiddish actors of that time.
people recall many curious episodes: When they presented
a play in which it had to be made 'An al mla rakhamim (A
Merciful God),' among every Yiddish chorister, Vayngold,
the gentile who was the only one who had with his sweet
lyrical tenor made this "Al mla," that the women in the
theater broke down.. In general, at Yiddish affairs on
stage, Vayngold has always appeared more understanding
than the others in the theatre, and when he began as a
chorister and became an actor, he soon demonstrated his
great abilities, and he was elevated from chorister to
become an actor. It didn't last long. He started playing
his first role. Vayngold had an innate intelligence, and
he had always been caught. (?)
In 1912 the
Romanian Sheygetz Voika in Vienna he was allowed to
speak to an expert mohel [?]. He converted, called it
and received the name of Avraham. (Vayngold later
declared that he did not do so much for religious
motives, as for a stronger conviction that an actor who
plays in the Yiddish theatre must be a Jew...) ...Vayngold
gave a great speech (for the occasion of Palepades'
anniversary), Depict the suffering path and wanderings
of the Yiddish actor, and some set of vignette speeches
were so overwhelmed with joy that they brought tears to
And about his
tragic end, Jonas Turkow writes:
"When the war
broke out, Shlomo Vayngold Voika disappeared from the
horizon. He knew what awaited him with the Nazis. He
went away from Warsaw, and every track of him has
disappeared. It was his destiny to have the same end as
his adopted brothers and he fell to the hands of the
Nazis. His Yiddish 'kentseykn" was enough that he should
count the fate from within the Jews and gypsies from
which he was descended."
"Lexicon of Yiddish Theatre," New York, 1931, Vol.
I, pp. 684.
Benzion Palepade -- "Zikhrones fun a halbn
yorhundert yidish teater," Buenos Aires, 1946, pp.
Jonas Turkow -- "Extinguished Stars," Buenos Aires,
1953, Vol. 2, pp. 122-128.