Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Harry Anisman


Born in 1893 in Kiev, Ukraine, to semi-well-to-do parents, who moved over to Warsaw. He learned in a cheder and yeshiva, and as a child developed a great love for Yiddish theatre and used to take off from home in order to be able to see Yiddish theatre. At age fourteen, he left home, migrating across various cities, was an errand boy, learned for a short time with a clockmaker, but the lust for theatre did not leave him until he was included at first in a children's troupe, then in an itinerant troupe as a buff comic. However, this did not make him content because of his aim to act in serious roles.

Finally he became engaged to act in serious, principal roles. He became known to a young actress in the troupe, Rukhele Klein, married her and had two children with her, but a cholera epidemic killed his wife and his youngest child. He immigrated to Constantinople and acted with a local Yiddish troupe, then schlepped with his child to Paris and acted there in Yiddish theatre for a single year.

In 1925 he arrived in America, where he was engaged in Littman's "Peoples" Theatre in Detroit, where he acted for two seasons. In 1927 he acted with a European-Yiddish troupe in Winnipeg and then married the actress Malvina Samuilov. In 1928 he became manager of a vaudeville troupe in the "Amphion" Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.


1929 -- he acted in the Lando Theatre in Pittsburgh.

In 1930 he became sick from arthritis, and due to this he had to be engaged to act in small roles, and as a stage manager in Montreal. Then he nevertheless tried again to direct for a season with the Lando Theatre in Pittsburgh, but his illness aggravated him, and he had to make a concert tour with a small arts troupe, until he won through and was able to go to a convalescent home.

Although he wasn't a union member, A. constantly acted with union actors, and also for many years he was for two or three seasons the social director during the summer months in the hotels in the mountains.

On 15 December 1950, A. passed away in New York.

Sh. E. from Malvina Samuilov.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2458.

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