Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Julius Adler


Born November 15, 1880 in Bialystok, Polish Lithuania.

His father was a baker.

The correct name of the family was Adler. In order to avoid military conscription, the family would also call themselves Artshik, Artshikes etc.

He stated school in a cheder, but later he studied secular studies with a private teacher.

At the age of six years, he organized a purimshpil "Ahasheurus" at his home, in which he played “Haman”.

At the age of nine, he became a singer in a cantor’s boys choir where he became known as “Old Yurke”.

In 1891 a theatrical group known as the Broder Singers came to Bialystok. He joined them as a musical star. For a short time he was involved with a Russian opera troupe, and then he became the director of a choir in a large synagogue. Almost immediately he joined David Schwarzbard’s theatrical group as an actor. From there he joined the Avrom Kaminski theater group that had played in the Bialystok region. In this theatrical group he was an actor, choir master and from time to time a director.

After performing for several years with Kaminski and later with Fishzon’s group, Adler became a theatrical entrepreneur for groups coming from all over Russia. 

In 1904 Adler joined his family in America, where he became associated with the Columbia Theatre. Later he joined the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia working for Michael Thomashefsky. He stayed there for three years as an actor, choir master and director.

In 1907 he joined the Jardin d'Hiver Theatre in Warsaw. There, for the first time, he brought Gordin’s American repertoire to Europe (not including “Mirele Efros” and “The Orphan” which had already played there). He also staged works by Libin, Kobrin, and Zolotarevsky. After that he toured as a guest performer throughout Poland and Lithuania. In Bialystok he reorganized the theatrical troupe in which he appeared as a guest actor. He played on the road with this troupe as its director in Poland and Russia. 

In 1909 he returned to America and after playing for one season with Michael Thomashefsky in the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia, he once again returned to Poland. There he played for one season in Zandberg’s Lodz Grand Theatre and also performed as a guest actor in his earlier provincial theatre which he once again together with Lipovski, took under his direction. Together they toured through Russia. 

From 1910-11 Adler played once again with Zandberg in his Grand Theatre.

In 1912 he and Lipovski rented the Lodz Circus Building as a Yiddish theatre. After that he traveled for a short time as a guest star throughout Russia. He directed and also played in the Hebrew-language presentation of “Uriel Acosta”, and in Herzl’s “New Ghetto” (as Yaakov) in Lodz, Warsaw and in Vienna. At the end of 1913 he opened, under his and Serotzky’s direction, the Skala Theatre in Lodz, where he presented for the first time a significant number of European dramatic and operatic repertoires. Then, for the first time, Adler undertook a great tour over the largest and smallest cites in Poland. 

In 1920 Adler traveled to America where he played half a season in Boston with Julius Nathanson. And then for a short while he appeared in Los Angeles. From 1921-1922 he played with the Yiddish Art Theatre. In September 1922 he and Serotzky took over the Liberty Theatre but very shortly thereafter, the theatre blew up. Adler joined the Art Theatre. He played for one season at the Hopkinson Theatre and at the Yiddish Art Theatre. He departed for Europe and from there he went  to Argentina and Brazil. From 1927-1928 for a short while he was appointed Artistic Director in Toronto and immediately after that he returned to Europe, where he was a guest performer in France, Belgium, Germany and Russia. In December 1928, Adler directed “The New Yiddish Theatre” in Riga, and in 1929 he was guest artist in Kovno.

From 1910-1912 Adler took part in Poland in the film “Mirele Efros” (Yosele), and in America in the film “Broken Hearts” ("a friend").

From 1910-1913 Adler wrote an article about Yiddish theatre and his memoirs. He also wrote plays that were staged, “Village Love” (Dorf’s liber), operettas, music from Peretz Sandler. On September 8, 1922 in the Liberty Theatre he presented “The Second Wife” (a melodrama), “Mother Gendendl” (an operetta-- music by Beigelman); He reworked “The Pretty Berma” (an operetta-- music by Beigelman), he translated Zapolska’s “Zalbafert”, Strindberg’s “Father”, Ibsen’s’ “Ghosts”, Kalman’s operetta “The Czardas Firshmin” (all performed on stage), and the drama “The Friend” by Levitina (staged January 24, 1929 in Riga).

  • Writings of Amelia Adler.

  • B. Gorin -- History of the Yiddish Theatre, Vol. 2, p. 193.

  • Z.Z.G. -- Julius Adler, "Literarishe bleter", May 5, 1920.

  • Julius Adler -- My roaming with Yiddish troupes thirty years ago (Memoirs), "Frimorgn", Riga, February 20,1929.

  • Noah Prilutsky-- Yiddish theatre, Bialystok, 1921, Vol. I, pp. 47, 48; Vol. II, p. 109.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Under the Drapes, Vilna, 1928, pp. 157-169

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Theatrical Memories, Vilna, 1928, pp. 46-58.

  • Y.B.T. -- Julius Adler, About Me, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 120, 1926.

  • Alperin -- Famous Yiddish Artist- Julius Adler, "Frimorgn", Riga, July 11, 1926.

  • Alk -- Artist and Human. "Vilna Tog", November 19, 1926.

  • H. Levin -- A few words at the farewell with Julius Adler, "Tsayt", Vilna, December 8, 1926.

  • Bleyfeder -- Julius Adler. Ov. Kur., Vilna, December 2, 1926.

  • L.K .-- Julius Adler, "Nf"Bl", July 16, 1926.

  • L. S--ky -- About the guest appearance of Julius Adler in the Folks-theatre, "Zayt", Vilna, November 15 and December 6, 1926.

  • Julius Adler -- From Lodz to the Ship, "Literarishe bleter", April 1927.

  • Shtakfeder -- The travels of Julius Adler’s troupe throughout Poland in Light and letters, Yiddish Theatre, Warsaw, 1927, II, pp. 231-233.

  • The History of Yiddish Theaters in Warsaw, "Theatre Times", Warsaw, 2, 1928.

  • Aba Sili -- This Evening is  to Honor Julius Adler in the New Yiddish Theater, "Frimorgn", April 17,1929.






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Translated from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 11.

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