Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Bergelson


B. was born in Akhrimov (Sarno) near Uman, Kiev Gubernia. His father was a prayer leader and a Talner Chasid, the "rich man" (gbir) of the shtetl and of the community. B. had begun to write early, at first in Russian, then in Hebrew. His first works were both in Hebrew (1906), both in Yiddish (1907), which he sent into production, but weren't published. Living since 1908 in Kiev, where B. had as an extern traveled to the exams (also he studied as a sheep doctor, but later he gave it up), that there he wrote his great story "Arum vokzal", which he was forced to publish on his own account (publisher "Progres", Warsaw, 1909), and it was immediately called out for attention by the Yiddish critics.

Outside of literary work, B. had until the March Revolution also taken an active part in the Jewish Cultural Movement, that addressed the Ukraine under the direction of the Kiev "Kultur-lige (Culture League)", from which B. was one of the founders. When it was founded in May 1918, the dramatic studio of the "Kultur-lige", B. until September 1920 was the director and literary leader and he participated in the direction and in the courses.

B. adapted his story "Der toyber" as a drama in 3 acts, and fragments of it were published in the New York "Freyheyt", 1927. The play under he name of "Oybn un untn" under the direction of Moshe Rafalski, music by Kreyn, decorations and costumes by Tischler, on 27 April 1929 was staged i Homel by "Vim't". The play under the name of "Di broyt-mil" ("Der toyber") in 1930 was published in a Vilna publishing house by B. Kletskin.

The play was translated into German by Dr. Prints for the Piskator Theatre.

At the end of 1929 through the Chicago Yiddish Literary-Dramatic society collective he [became read=forgeleyent gevorn], with the participation of the author, his one-act comedy "In yidish-sovetishn gerikht", which was later staged (Director Jacob Mestel) by "Artef" in Carnegie Hall in New York.

In the "Freyheyt" of March-April 1929 there was published fragments of B.'s three-act drama "Beym telefon", which was being read during a Bergelson evening in New York with the participation of the author, through "Artef".

M. E.

  • Zalmen Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I, pp. 347-52.

  • Nakhman Mieyzel -- David bergelson, "Der toyber", in veysrusishn yidishen mlukhh-teaterr, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 4, 1929.

  • Sh. Niger -- David bergelson, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 9, 1929.

  • David Bergelson, "Literarishe bleter", 37, 1929.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 222.

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