Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Mordechai Abelman

Born on 25 May 1909 in Warsaw. As a youth he connected with a Yiddish dramatic circle, where he demonstrated an ability for the stage. For a long time he played in Warsaw under the auspices of Jacob and Leah Rotbaum.

During the Second World War he fled to Poland, and after a long time he arrived in Soviet Russia. There he connected with Ida Kaminska's troupe, and with her toured across cities and villages and played Yiddish theatre. After the end of the war A. arrived in the Jewish camps in Germany and there performed with the "Bederekh" theatre troupe. Under the direction in the troupe traveled across the various camps with great success, by the survivors.

About this Norbert Horowitz writes:

"The Jews of the city of Berlin and of Berlin's 'The foragers had their own theatre. The ensemble called 'Bederekh' (the way), and staged among other large productions, for example, 'The Hero in Chains,' by Victor Hugo, its director was the professional actor Mordechai Abelman (today in Chicago, and David Minsker, an actor from Warsaw's 'Young theatre' (today in Los Angeles). The excess of the participants were amateurs, but very hard-working and talented. 'Bederekh' gve their productions and all the camps of the American and English  Zones with a fair success. They brought along from Berlin a large ensemble with costumes and [theatre] properties. The audience shrugged off their shoddy work, which had to be absorbed into the difficult spectacles."


The 'Bederekh' (founded in June 1946) with two revised plays, under the name, 'Di shunayim oyf tsu lhcheis' and 'Mitn vandershtok in hant.' In the productions there participated: M. Abelman, B. Beker, M. Grossman, Y. Lubelski, M. Russ, M. Lubelski, D. Minsker, F. Kompaneyets and H. Freishkat. In the program "Shunayim oyf tsu lhcheis" there were included small arts numbers from 'Ararat' and 'Azazel' (although all the dramatic circles and theatre groups had employed the material, because all former heretic poets who originated in Poland, the repertoire remembered the best and some new revised numbers. ...The (second] program was more professionally constructed than the first, because "Mitn Vandershtok" had one stage director with good taste and enough theatre routine (M. Abelman). ...The ensemble was built on commercial, private 'secrets and 'mysteries and warmth were received throughout the audience. 'Bederekh' HOT OYSGEMITN NIBUL-PH, use better repertoire, a good language, had good costumes and sets. In turn 'Bederekh' played in 'Hero in Chains,' and his last offering was Moliere's 'The Diseased Patient' (stage director M. Abelman) 'Der kranker' was the last play.

...The Berlin Yiddish newspaper "Unzer veg" of 18 July 1947 had great praise for the offering and especially for the stage director  M. Abelman. The newspaper writes: "Outstanding is the stage direction. It is felt throughout the entire production. Every movement was right for every actor in their place. The five scenes of the first act were literally bound together really flawlessly. The sets were created FACHMENISH. With a lot of flavor and sustained in style and survived from that time on.

In 1948, when the immigration opportunity became real, the members of "Bederekh" decided to leave Germany.

Several years later A. came to America and settled in Chicago, where he threw himself into Yiddish cultural work and put himself at the head of a group, which spread Yiddish culture among the new arrivals. He also helped found the welcome organization of the new arrivals.

A part of the time A. played in Yiddish theatre in Chicago under the direction of Dina Halpern, then by himself he founded a dramatic group, with whom he performed various theatre shows, the last one being the revue "Tsip tsapikl."

On 2 December 1969 A. passed away in Chicago.

Sh.E. from Benjamin Katz.

  • Norbert Horowitz -- Yidish teater fun der shaarit hapelita, "Fun noentn evr," New York, 1955, pp. 149-252.

  • Leon Zeifman -- Tsu di shlosim nokh mordechai abelman, "Tog-morgn zhurnal," N.Y., 2 February 1970.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6284.

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