Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Adolph Freeman


Born in1888 in Moisés Ville, Argentina to well-to-do parents, who besides him had four daughters, and all of them had given a fine account and a systematic education.

As a child of five to six years he, together with his entire family, went back to Kishinev, Bessarabia, from where the father was descended., but after the pogrom there, they returned to Argentina

Chaim Ehrenreich writes that from childhood he was drawn to the stage, but that opportunity he had in his birth country did not happen, due to his family lineage according to F.'s brother-in-law, the actor Joseph Haberman, it was exactly the opposite, that not only did F. not have any difficulties in this area, but his father who alone had a strong love for Yiddish theatre, was willing to have him become a Yiddish actor, but the stars then, the Yiddish actor who were standing at the head of Yiddish theatre in Argentina, did not let any young powers, and although F. tried to play in Buenos Aires and in the province, he however did not see any prospects for development, and therefore at the age of seventeen he went away to Paris.

Here he joined a Yiddish troupe, and in the span of a short time appeared in large, prominent roles. From there he was engaged for Romania to Segalesco, where for several years he played with success and again returned to Argentina.

According to Haberman, F. here organized his own troupe with which he traveled across Brazil and played even in the smaller Jewish neighborhoods, then he established for the first time a Yiddish theatre in Chile, where his father had made the necessary investment and everything was lost.

Nevertheless F. traveled to America, performing with Boris Thomashefsky in the "National Theatre" in a translated Spanish play, "Der payatz (The Clown)," then he played for a season in Philadephia with Anshel Schorr, later in the "Duchess Theatre" in Cleveland. In 1923, together with Samuel Zilberberg, he directed with the "Chelsea Theare" in Boston, however, due to Union rules he couldn't play in New York, so he went away from there to California, wherein he was engaged by Sam Auerbach for his local theatre, where he played for a season, and then with Molly and Jacob Cohen-Berlin, and went on to guest-star in Mexico, where he performed in "Captain Dreyfus."

He returned, playing from time to time with various actors who guest-starred in Los Angeles, or by himself put together troupes for sporadic productions. For a certain time, with breaks, he also directed, and with Yiddish radio programs on which he, together with his wife Anna, directed his dramatizations of Yiddish literature, especially by Avrom Reisen's stories.

In 1933 F. founded in Los Angeles a local Yiddish actors' union, and later he founded here an actors' club.

Chaim Ehrenreich writes:

"Not surprisingly, which he was already no longer performing on the stage in important roles, he had however until the last minute of his life was concerned about his colleagues, Yiddish actors, and was an advocate for the founding of the Yiddish Actors' Club in Los Angeles. He hoped to build his own center with a stage to produce Yiddish plays of the better repertoire. For the several years that the Yiddish Actors' Club existed, the now-deceased Adolph Freeman was its president. To the credit of the club it had to be said that he hah endeavored to accomplish with greatest enthusiasm his accomplishments the greatest satisfaction of the large Yiddish audiences, which always attended during the holidays the Yiddish Actors' Club.

M.E. from Joseph Haberman.

  • Chaim Ehrenreich -- Bakanter yidisher aktor, adolf freeman, geshtorben in los angeles, "Forward," N.Y., 11 April 1960.






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 6, page 5113.

Copyright ©  Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.