Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Aneta Finkel


According to Itzhak Libresco, she was born in Bucharest, Romania, and had been named Schwartz, and had a young sister, Margareta Schwartz, also a Yiddish actress.

As Bessie Thomashefsky tells it [not correctly] in her account, F. was, Mrs. Werbl and Paulina (the wife of Avraham Goldfaden) was her sister.

Saying that, that she began to act in Yiddish theatre soon in the first years of its founding. Gorin, the historian of Yiddish theatre, recalls that when Goldfaden had in Moscow withdrawn from the troupe and gave over the directorship to actor Leiser Zuckerman, the actor Moshe Finkel then found himself therof so offended that he soon thereafter married F. and with her went away to play in Yiddish theatre in Russia. F. with her husband toured with a section of Odessa Yiddish actors to Romania.

In one of the first reviews of Yiddish theatre, there appeared in the Bucharest newspaper "Fraternitatea" of 7 June 1885, it said (in the Yiddish translation of Sh.'s novel:

"... although the entire troupe is musical, and the Finkel wife fardint especially then (bazunderts dermant tsu vern] as an exceptional actress and singer.... for the women who had excelled [in the comedy] was Mrs. Finkel, Mrs. Rosenberg and Mrs. Edelstein (the coquette) ...


Aumangenem aiz was the 'doctor' ...who sang and recited anshtat to reydn as a human being (mentsh). Hot aiz afilu a khsrun, vos merkt zikh also with several other actors from the troupe and se vaundert us, which Mrs. Finkel gufa kon zkh derfun nit bafreyen."

And in the same newspaper of 12 July, it is written about the production of "Pericola":

""The woman Finkel as Pericola was the success of the evening. Especially good also was Kessler in the role of the old arestant."

In "Galati" of 9 July 1885 it was said:

"In the large theatre, due to oysfeln of a Romanian troupe-- sits for series of productions the union of Israeli artists under the management of the h"h Mogulesco and Finkel. This production tsien for that evening was not only Israelites, but also many Romanians, who were retired from pleasant and original music ... Mrs. Finkel, with an appealing soprano voice, as well as Mrs. Edelstein, were the first who received applause."

Nakhn matern zikh economic several years in Romania, F. came at the end of July 1886 with an entire troupe, among them also her husband, to New York.

David Kessler recalls that when Goldfaden in 1887 came to America and wanted to take over the directorship of the theatre, the actors refused thereof, and declared a strike. However, the two women of the troupe, Aneta Finkel and Rosa Karp, were strikebreakers.

In 1888 F. found me to play in Boston with her husband. In the presence of the guest, Avraham Goldfaden, she performed as "Karolina" in "The [Two] Kuni Lemels," but as Bessie Thomashefsky, who had seen them as a huge competitor, according to her account:

"God helped on a beautiful day, with a rehearsal, the director showed up with the prima donna, Aneta Finkel, and she says that she is not playing, although the entire production was called back. They talked, they argued, but it didn't help. She refused and said to him, not to play even though you may need to return the money from all the sold-out tickets. She is the 'starikhe,' and she must oysfirn, she says. After a long struggle that began with the director and not a shpey oys on the prima donna, with the 'Kuni lemels,' with all of Boston. It didn't help at all betn and not to cry. Thomashefsky went away and we all stayed inside. ... The prima donna, Aneta Finkel, was the 'stariche' with a diploma, outside of New York,' and she said she was given to understand what this means. The beautiful wardrobe, which I had held in the same 'Boston Music Hall,' at first for several weeks ago when I performed as 'Shulamis'-- this lovely dresser Ruth [wardrobe room] Aneta Finkel had taken for herself, we did she named himself putting the clothes on in the toilet [?] In the toilet (closet), for as soon as I would dress in the same dressing room with her, so from whence they will know that she is the 'star'? Looking at it--she laughed--a 'star' in short clothes? Haven't there already been many who have suffered for the Yiddish stage? How many friends have you already hired as actors?!"

F. then played in other troupes and for a certain time took a prominent place on the American Yiddish stage as a prima donna. Later she subsequently gegt with Morris Finkel, with whom she had a daughter Liza (pianist in the Bucharest Opera House, who was murdered in Bucharest by the Nazi authorities), and a son Irvin, who after his father's death officially changed his name to Irvin H. Fenn, and was the head of the mathematics department of the Polytechnium of Brooklyn, N.Y.

F. later married the musician and composer Finkelstein from Philadelphia, and with him went away to Europe, where he died, and after his death in 1907, she returned to America, where in 1926 she passed away in Philadelphia.

Her son Irvin, who was the husband of the Yiddish actress Berta Gerstin, passed away on 29 February 1960 in New York.

M. E. from Itzhak Libresko and Isaac Aberman.

  • B. Gorin-- "History of Yiddish Theatre," Volume 2, p. 35.

  • Bessie Thomashefsky-- "Mayn lebens geshikhte," New York, 1916, pp. 70-74.

  • Sh's Roman-- Di ershte retsenzie vegn yidishn teater in rumenye,, [in "Hundert yor goldfadn], New York, pp. 53-54.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2678.

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