Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yankev Bankov


Born in 1863 in Dikavke, Aleksandryev kreyz, Ukraine. Parents -- shopkeeper. His parents passed away when he was young, and B. had to mind his five little brothers, and he then at a young age performed for a blacksmith, where he worked for two years, then to a shoemaker, then worked in a leather store, and he learned in an evening school, later working as an employee in a leather store in Kremenchug.

Owning a beautiful voice since childhood, B. became interested in singing and heard a coupletist in the city's summer garden, and he learned several Russian and Ukrainian songs, and there he joined as a coupletist, then he went to Yelisavetgrad to the local Yiddish troupe (Israel Rosenberg, Yosef Weinstock and Avraham Fishkind), who needed very much (due to the conditions then) a Russian coupletist for their Yiddish production. When they had banned the playing of Yiddish theatre, even with Russian coupletists, B. arranged for a Russian concert, and from that revenue the Yiddish troupe went out to Romne, where they staged several Yiddish productions, where there was a further ban on acting. In Peryeselav the troupe was generally not permitted to perform, and it disbanded. B. again then became a Russian coupletist-singer, and migrated as such until Slonim, where there happened to be a Yiddish troupe (Shvartzbard, Chizhik, Sendik and the Polish singer-actress Leichnitz, who knew German), and together they directed "Shulamis" in "German".

Soon the troupe disbanded, but when it became a little easier to perform under the pseudonym "Yiddish-German", B. again toured for two years, then he arranged Russian concerts in military clubs, and later he returned to being a Russian coupletist, then he joined for a short time in the troupe of Fishzon and Spivakovski, then B. acted with Bernstein, Kompaneyets, Tsipkus, Kaminski, Mishurat and Rappel.

For forty-five years B. acted on the Yiddish stage under difficult conditions, also being at one time arrested as a "revolutionary", due to his long hair.

During the last years, B. is a pensioner of the government of the Soviet Union, and has withdrawn from the stage.

Sh. E.

M. E. from China Braginska, A. Kompaneyets, S. Heiligman and Nachum Lipovski.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 121.

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