Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Max Erik
(Zalman Merkin)



Born on 17 November 1898 in Sosnowiec, Poland, into a well-to-do family. He learned with a melamed, then entered into the Russian crown real school, later over to a Polish gymnasium that he completed in 1918.

As a gymnasium student of the last class, he became attracted to the Jewish Labor Movement, and he had at first then become interested in the Yiddish language and literature and debuted with an article about Hugo Zukerman in "Di yidishe zamlbikher" (1918) under the direction of Y. M. Veysenberg Since then E. has published reviews and essays in the organs of the Poalei Zion (in which he was active in this party for a long time), and also in other literary publications in Poland.

1919-21 -- served in the Polish military and completed officer's school. 1921-24 -- studied law at Krakow's university. 1922-23 and 1925-6 -- was a teacher of Yiddish literature and Polish Studies in the Jewish middle schools of Vilna.

Beginning to devote himself to the history of the old Yiddish literature, he adapted old Yiddish texts from the city library in Danzig, at the Bodleian Library. the British Museum, and in a French library, taking an active part in the work of YIVO and performing as a lecturer about literature.

Since 1930 E. has settled in the Soviet Union, and together with

his political convictions, and he also completed his working method about the old Yiddish literary productions.

In his book "Konstruktsye shtudien" (publisher, "Arbayter-heym", Warsaw, 1924), found a large work in which was treated gnetishe details in connection with the various variations of Peretz's dramas "Di goldene kayt" and "Beynakht oyfn alte mark", and became analyzed various moments in the development of Peretz's dramatic creations.

In "Philologishe shriftn", Volume 3, Vilna (pp. 535-584), E. published a large work "Di ershte yidishe komedye" (about Itsik Euchel's "Reb Henoch, oder Woss tut me damit"). He had added to this work the name "Naye materialn vegn eykhlen" in "Tsaytshrift", Insk, 1932 (pp. 285-294).

In "Tsaytshrift", Minsk, 1931, (pp. 125-169), E. also published a large etude under the name "Vegn sotsialn mehus fun aksenfelds shafn".

In 1931 there was also published in Minsk E.'s book "Sholem Asch" (125 pp.), in which he discusses in a particular chapter (pp. 46-70) Sholem Asch's dramatic work.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. II, pp. 815-18.






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 2, page 1599.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.