Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Adolf Fenigstein


Born in 1895 in Warsaw, Poland. Parents --owners of a lace-making factory. He received a Jewish education at home.

At the age of thirteen he, according to his father's wish, he performed with amateurs, to benefit a voyltetikn avek, as "Chaim Yoel" in Moshe Richter's "Hertsele Myukhs". From that moment on, he felt a love and a pull to the stage, and there arose a conflict between him and his father, who had not wanted this, that he should become a professional actor.

F. since then used to give in to the repetitions, in Polish theatre, and had in a year's time learned in a Polish dramatic school in Warsaw. In 1908 he went away with a professional Yiddish troupe under the direction fo Tsipkus across the province, where he began as a chorister, and a little later received small roles until he had in 1914 taken first place in Genfer's troupe, in Russia as a young comic in the then-popular historical plays. This brought him great success, but a slight inner satisfaction.

As it went over to the "Yiddish stage", he strove to art "and not having any possibility to act seriously, durkhgetrakhte roles, he always went around discontented. His striving for the arts was felt first after the revolution in Russia, where he had in 1917, at a conference of the Yiddish actors in Kiev, happened upon Misha Fishzon.".


 In 1919, when the Soviet "Jewish Art State Theatre" was founded in Odessa with actor Bertanov as regisseur, F. created an entrance examination to become, and six actors had to act in the role of "Noakh" in Hirshbein's "The Faraway Corner".

In 1920 he went over to Romania and there, together with Misha Fishzon, worked in  the "Yiddish muster un kinstler" theatre, where he performed as "Yoel Dovid" in Mark Arnstein's "Voilner bel bisl", "Uriel" and Gutskov's "Uriel Acosta", "Itsik" and Peretz Hirshbein's "Puste kretshme", "Chanan" or "Mshulkh" in Sh. Anski's "Dybuk" and "Khlestyakov" in Gogol's "Revizor", at the same time he had however, while in distress, further acting as a singing-lover or fat comic in the operettas. In 1923-24 -- he had, with great success, together with his brother Herman Fenigstein, Misha Fishzon and Viera Zaslavska, guest-starred across Galicia and Poland.

F. later arrived in America, where he became engaged in Philadelphia.

As Misha Fishzon recalls in his memoirs, they had, when he had made a try (to be accepted into) for the Yiddish Actors Union, restricted him, that he didn't have the strength to endure the exam, and he thereof became ill.

On 30 June 1925, F. passed away in Philadelphia.

  • "Yudishe bine", Lemberg, N' 2, 1922.

  • [--] -- "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 1' 65, 1925.

  • Misha Fishzon -- Hintern forhang fun idishen teater, "Tog", N. Y., 20-21 January 1948; 25 February 1948.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page  5038.

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