Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Emanuel Chizhik


Born on 26 December 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. Father -- Bunes Badkhan.

He learned in Lodz in cheders and also with a Yiddish teacher -- German, Russian and Polish.

When his father left to go across the land, he gave him to a feldsher (old-time barber-surgeon) on the lair(?) as a hairdresser. After a year, Ch. traveled to his mother in Warsaw, where he worked as a hairdresser, and later as a purse maker.

When his father came back from Russia and traveled across the small towns of Poland, he took him with him to sing songs. From Poland they traveled to Galicia, where they wandered together with Alter Melitzer as badkhanim and "joy makers".

In a short time he became an independent badkhan in Zhelikhov, served four years in the military, and when he came back as an under-officer, he performed again as a badkhan together with his father. When in Tomaszow, the troupe of Fishzon-Gelis lacked a role player for "Breyndele Kozak", and Ch. entered into the troupe as an actor. Then he went over to the troupe of Avraham-Yitzhak Kaminski, joining a tour across the small towns. Later he traveled together with Kaminski to Warsaw, from where they made another tour across the province, acting in stalls and in eynfar houses.


From Poland, the troupe "went" to Russia, but as such they hadn't a permit to act anywhere, and Ch. returned to Warsaw from where he was summoned to Poltava in the troupe of Kaminski-Spivakovski, later he traveled around with the folksingers Zablotski, Kiselevski and Polevik, with the Keidanov-Goldfaden troupe, Spivakovski and then three years in Warsaw under Weisfeld's direction, being a regisseur there. After acting for several months in Bendin, they were forbid to act in Yiddish, and Ch. again became a badkhan there.

Later Ch. was summoned to London by his brother, the actor Yosl, but didn't have the possibility there to act, and he was six year with Sigar. From London he arrived in Paris, where he acted with Spivakovski and Fanny Vadya Epstein, then in Belgium and Vienna. In wartime he acted for five years in Courland (each Sunday), and later he went over to Yiddish concerts in Prague and came from there to Paris, where he rarely acted.

Here he began to compose songs on known motifs, and from them about ten were printed and excelled in the popularity of the former badkhans.

Ch. also adapted Peretz's "Monish" into a four-act play.

M E.

  • M. Myodovnik -- Meyne teater zikhroynes, "Der shtern", Journal, MInsk, I, II, 1926.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Der tate a barimter varsh. badkhan -- der zohn a mshumd un dirizhor in keyzerlikhen teater in moskve, "Inz. eksp.", Warsaw, 162, 1928.

  • Z. Z. [Zylbercweig] -- Epizodn funs altn yidishn teater, "Teat"tst", Warsaaw, 3 (10) 1929.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 900.

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