Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Herman Fiedler
(Avraham Hersh)


Born on 6 October 1857 in Goldingen, Courland. Descended from an old musical family. Father -- a violinist who had led his own orchestra.

F. completed in the German language a for- and kreyz governmental school, where he also learned Hebrew, grammar and Tenach. At age seven he began to learn violin with his father and then with the musician Moses Benyaminson, who took him  in (after his father's death) to raise and support him. Thus F. performed with him for three years in an orchestra. At the age of thirteen, F. went with his mother and sister to Peterburg and there for a half-year attended the conservatory. Returning to Goldingen, he performed with Benyaminson's orchestra in kur-erter and in aristocratic clubs.

Serving in the military in Dinaburg (Dvinsk), F. participated, as well as a flautist in a military orchestras, that performed in guest performances in Yiddish theatre (Adler, Karp, Leyzer Tsukerman and Tobatshnikov). He chose to befriend Yiddish actors and was with them, after his military service, conductor, and later with them conductor in another Yiddish troupe (Joseph Weinstock, Halan, Spivakovski, Chaimovich). Returning to Goldingen, he became there an assistant conductor  in a folks orchestra, but in short he traveled to London, where he entered into a Yiddish troupe as a conductor (Adler, Karp, Leibush Gold, Kurazh, Manne and wife, Moshe Zilberman and wife) in the "Princes Club".


Here he saw Schiller's "Robbers" and made more Jewish "Kabale in libe" (staged 11 August 1884).

About that production, a critic [possibly Morris Winchevsky] wrote in London's "Der poylisher idel":

"The translation by Mr. Herman Fiedlernas a translation is not bad. Mr. Fiedlernonly then feler made the scene [action] more of a Russia ibertsutrogn, and the character of Schiller mgeyr tsu zeyn. For a prns of a town the father had from Joseph (Schiller's "Ferdinand") a tsugroyse deh, and for a prns's a son hot Joseph too much speech not umzist and um nisht. Short, the supervisor would have done a lot better when Schiller's piece would be left as es iz un volt nit gemakht fun goyim yidn oyf tsurus..."

There, F. also wrote the operetta  "Di lustike kavalern" with his own music (staged in 1886 in London), and freely translated into "Der odeser betler" ("Lumpenzamler fun pariz", a French folks-shtik), with whom Jacob P. Adler often gave as the translator, or fully as the author of the play, had later acquired his first popularity.

After the " false fire alarm" (18 January 1887) in London's Yiddish theatre, F. arrived in America where he settled in Chicago, and there for twenty-four years conducted in the Yiddish theatre, and he wrote music for Feinman's "Der held fun yehuda", and Zolotkoff's "Shimshen hagiber (Samson, the Hero)" (1895), also many texts and music to couplets and duets.

In 1911 F. retired from Yiddish theatre and since then had lived as a violin teacher.

On 18 June 1930 F. passed away in Toronto, Canada, and was brought to his grave site in Chicago.

M. E. and M. E. from Jacob Katzman.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, pp. 51, 271.

  • [--] -- Idishes theater in london, "Der poylisher idel", London, Nr' 4, 1884.

  • Bessie Thomashefsky -- "Mayn lebens geshikhte", N. Y., 1916, p. 145.

  • Jacob P. Adler -- Mayn lebn, "Di naye varhayt", N. Y., 18 April, and 28 May 1925.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2134.

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