Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre



Pinye Ziegelbaum

Born in 1906 in Krasnostav, Poland. Brother of the actor Avraham, from the famous Jewish family director Arthur Ziegelbaum. he was a good manufacturing worker. He began his professional activity in the worker's union, and he often performed as a speaker at meetings, also once reciting songs for a larger auditorium, having a great desire for the stage. In 1933 he was the first-ever student of the Warsaw Yiddish Dramatic School of Michael Weichert, which he completed, leaving permanently his job at work and joining in 1934 the "Young Theatre," where he played under the pseudonym of P. Ziegel, until 1938, participating in every offering in Warsaw and across the province.

Z. excelled in an entire series of offerings for the group. So Nakhman Mayzel writes about his acting in "Krasin':

"P. Ziegel is already a gifted actor who can and will still grow."

Sh. Bliacher, who saw him in the offering of Malach's "Mississippi," writes:

"The performance caught me by surprise. It was a very successful performance. Mixed up in the act there was a particularly strong impression on me made then by one of the actors who played the role of attorney. In his acting there was so much simplicity and non-completeness, that I had the feeling that it was played by a man who had a long-standing stage activity behind him. Later, I realized that the role was performed by one of the youngest actors in the 'Young Theatre' Pinye Ziegelbaum


Z. also gave a series of successful performances in the 'Young Theatre' offerings, in 'Boston,' 'Dos lebn ruft (Life Calls?),' 'Tanentsap,' 'Simkha plakhte,' 'Vatshek' and 'Protses.' He was especially successful  in the role of 'Kops the Bookkeeper' in Herman Heyerman's 'Di farlorene hofnung (The Lost Hope?).' "

In his book, "Memories," Dr. Michael Weichert writing about the "Young Theatre," makes some comments about Z. He said that in the performances of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third," he played the role of "Mendele"; in Hofenung (Hope)" -- the role of "Kops," and concerning his playing in "Taentsap," he writes: "A dear "Litviser Baldarsn" reached out to Pinye Ziegelbaum; about "Life Calls": "Especially excelling was Pinye Ziegelbaum in the role of the aristocratic intelligentsia Professor  Savitsh, a type who had him -- the Jewish worker -- must be completely foreign"; and about "Vatsek": The important roles that were played: D. Fakel (Marie), Pinie Ziegelbaum (Doctor)."


as "Litviser Baldarsn"

Sh. Bliacher  portrays him this way:

"Straight over, over-combed hair ... chestnut hair, deep, clear eyes, a long nose and narrow lips."

According to the actor Zalmen Koleshnikov, he went with Z. to play in Bialystok's Jewish State Theatre, then in the "Baveglekhn" Theatre. He was very ill, it seems, from tuberculosis. He looked very bad. He was released from his office as deputy director and left for Vilna.

About the last stage activity and tragic end, Sh. Bliacher writes:

"With the outbreak of the German-Polish war, Pinye Ziegelbaum fled, together with his wife, from Warsaw, where they had then been found, to Bialystok. When in Bialystok, which at that time was closed to Western White Russia, there was organized a Jewish State Theatre, Pinye joined the theatre. Fearing that he should not suffer for his previous political affairs, he switched over his family name to Ostrovitsh (his wife's family name). Here the Ziegelbaum's bore their first child -- a young boy.

From Bialystok Zeigelbaum was engaged in Vilna's State Theatre, wherever he goes with his wife and child. In Vilna he performed in the role of Dr. Bublik in Korneytshuk's 'Platon kretshet.' His last role was 'Koltun' in Sholem Aleichem's '200,000.'  Immediately as Vilna was taken  by the Germans, bitter times began for him. He was an asthma sufferer, and therefore he didn't have any possibility to do hard, physical work, and due to this could not be legalized. Wanting to help his family, with his last bit of strength he moved away to Burbishki to work. However, he fell there weakly and had to give up the job. The hunger became afterthought to them inside the house, later all the Jews were brought into the ghetto, their situation became even worse. When the 'cleansing' had begun, and under various excuses Jews were taken away, and he became very nervous and trembled all the time. He was overly concerned about his tiny son. However, he could not help himself or his love. It was then added that his wife had proposed that they should cut themselves off from their child, and thus stave off their hard lives. In addition it turns out, they lacked courage. Not having any pouch-shining, they had to survive in the second ghetto, and after being sacked for several days, they were taken with the child in the direction of Ponar. "

In "Destruction of Vilna," Sh. Kaczerginski (incorrectly giving his name as Ziegelman):

" ... came with his wife and child from Bialystok to Vilna in May 1941. On 23 June 1941 they left on the road. Notwithstanding what to do, exhausted from the dull sleep of their child, they returned. They were driven into the second ghetto, and from there away to Ponar."

M.E. from Zalmen Koleshnikov.

  • Sh. Kaczerginski -- "Destruction of Vilna," New York, 1947, p. 225.

  • Sh. Bliacher -- "Eyn un tsvantsik un eyner," New York, 1962, pp. 70-72.

  • Michael Weichert -- "Memories," Tel Aviv, 1961, Vol. 2, pp. 237, 263, 282, 322, 323, 328.





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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4151.

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