Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Alter Eisenschloss


Born on 22 January 1879 in Novominsk (now Minsk Mazovietsk), Warsaw Gubernia, Poland, to very pious, Chasidic parents. Three years later there was a big fire in the town, and his parents lost their property in the fire, and they subsequently moved over to Warsaw.
His father was a former rabbi who took it upon himself to teach his three-year-old son, who began to manifest a great perception and sharpness. At the age of ten A. by himself learned Shemesh, evoking admiration even among great scholars, and he acquired a name as [elui].
At age eleven his mother died, whom he had loved deeply, and he fell into such a melancholia that he wholly committed himself to study.
During the same time, he came under the influence of the work of Dinezon, Mendele and Peretz. He secretly secured the booklets, and under the impression of this new world that the books evoked in him, he lost his desire to learn, and at age thirteen he became a boot stitcher. At the same time he learned on his own to write in Yiddish and Russian. .
At age fifteen he began to write songs that were later, together with an entire package of other writings, such as stories or one-acters, burnt up by his father.

At age seventeen, tiring of boot manufacturing and no longer being able to endure the strife at home, he stole ten rubles from a sister and fled for Warsaw. For four years he suffered in exile across Poland and Lite (Lithuania), hunger and frost.... At age twenty-one he returned home, was released from military service, made peace with his father, married, went back to work, and again continued his education.

In 1908 he wrote his first play, "Di geshterte khasene," which on 24 February 1917 was staged in Vienna in the Stefanie Theatre by the actor Reyzman.

In 1914 he moved over to Krakow, then Austria. During the outbreak of battle, he was taken captive in a camp in a far-off town. There he founded together with a director of the Baron Hirsch School, Lulker, a leyenshtub (rest home?), a library, a theatre group, which played on each Shabes and Sunday. He then wrote for them many one-acters, among them: "Di shvindzikhtike," "A shtikl tsuker", "Der meus", "Zoshe-popiele", "A khosn-- a poet", "Hersh velvele," "Tsvishn tsvay flamen" and "Koncurent."

In 1915 he began to work as a correspondent for the Lemberg "Tageblat," and in the "Vienna morgn-tsaytung." In 1916, when the captivity camp became moved in Lindenburg, he also founded there a library and a theatre group.

In 1917 he wrote his play "Zelig furman", which was staged on 4 February 1918 in the Vienna Stefanie Theatre under the direction of Reyzman.

In 1918 A. returned to Krakow, and he wrote there a play "Khsa hrbnus," in which he portrayed in an artistic fashion the experiences and conflicts in a rabbinic court. The play on 23 July 1921 was staged by Zygmunt Turkow in Warsaw's Central Theatre. The play also may have been published in Y. M. Veysberg's publishing hours, which however had a fire....

In 1920 A. moved over to Lodz, where he was an independent contributor in the "Lodzer tageblat," in which he printed several hundred folk stories and Chasidic stories as well as modern stories that were printed in the Yiddish press of the entire world. Here he also participated and was active in a literary union, excelling as a devoted friend and honest human being.

In Lodz A. again devoted his energies to writing plays, and so he wrote there "in each time" -- a folks play from [Mhrls] time, "In di shturm-teg" -- a war drama, "Der kunst moler," "Di filantropn," "Der feldsher-yung," a lebensbild in four acts, which on 31 January 1925 was staged in Lodz's Skala Theatre by Kompaneyets' troupe.

A., who had only a year earlier manifested a special excitement for the actress Esther Rukhl Kaminska, also had begun to write a play "Di shoyshpilerin," in which he wanted, in the manner of Dumas' play "Kean," to portray the life of Esther Rukhl Kaminska, but the difficult material conditions which affected the larger part of his life, had a great deal of impact; A. had been laid up [in bed] due to a chronic bronchitis. In October 1924 he [tsugekilt] himself, contracting a lung infection, and after being ill for several months, he passed away on 31 August 1925 in Lodz, and there was brought to his eternal rest.

Sh. E.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. I, pp. 73-4.

  • A. Eyzenslas -- "Der dank" in "Ma"k," Lodz, 3, 1922.

  • Yosef Turko -- A. eyznslos, "Literarishe bleter," "Nf"bl" and "Haynt".

  • Yosef Turko -- Alter eyzenshlos, "Nf"bl," 22 August 1926.

  • A. Eyznshlos -- Yidish teater in di estreykhishe barakn-lagers, "teater zikhrunus", editor Z. Zylbercweig, Vilna, 1928, pp. 11-26.



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 7, page 53.

Copyright   Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.