Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yosef (Yuzhbu) Berkovitsh


Born in December 1901 in Iasi, Romania. His father was the actor Yekhiel Berkovitsh ("Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre," p. 210), studied in a cheder, then he attended a folkssshul. Not wanting to learn a profession, but to emulate his father, having a great desire for the theatre, at the age of fifteen he organized an amateur circle, which was made up of progressive working elements, and with his acting in the "Fosti" Theatre.

From 1916-17 he worked with others as a technician with the guest-starring Clara Young, then became the assistant stage director, and went over to "Pomul Verde" (direction--Ashkenazi), but during the First World War he became an administrator for a Yiddish theatre in Iasi. In 1924 he continued to organize a semi-professional troupe, under the name, "Lozha lumina," under the leadership of Zeydl Helman. At the end of 1924 he created in the workers' quarter "Podul Roshu," a theatre garden under the name, "The New Pomul Verde," with a troupe of the best local actors in a serious repertoire. Then he became administrator for the guest-starring Misha Fiszon and Vera Zaslavska, Dr. Paul Baratoff, Hymie Prizant, Michal Michalesko.

Khayele Asch writes:

"The name 'Yuzhbu' was to the theatre public so famous as the great actor, because theatre was his life, his second being. B. dedicated himself with his entire soul to every branch of Yiddish theatre: administration, treasurer, placard gluer, actor

representative and conflict solver, advice giver for actors and director. He affirmed the concerns and passions of every theatre person. During the Second World War he was affected by the whole of the Iasi pogrom and was from this he was found in the 'death train,' one of the saddest extermination-actions in the time of the German-Romanian Fascist collaboration. B. was sent to a Romanian work camp 'Jolomitza-Kolorash,' from which he was lucky to be saved."

After the Second World War, he returned to Iasi, and under new stage direction he became the director of the Iasi theatre, "Skala." Like in Romania where he found Yiddish actors, B. transported a number of Yiddish actors from Russia, and from Transnistria, and traveled with them on a tour. Due to political topics he left Romania and settled with his family in the land of Israel.

Sh.E. from Khayele Ash.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 6116.

Copyright   Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.