Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Hirsh Gendel


Born in 1905 in Grodno, Russian Poland. Father -- a gravestone kritser, who was brought over to Bialystok to make a gravestone for a brother's grave from the Bialystok pogrom (on Sabbath Nachamu? 1905). His family remained in Bialystok, where G. received a traditional education, and during the German Occupation, in the first World War, he began to work at the age of eleven, learning modern Jewish subjects in the evening.

In 1921 he arrived in America, and in Cleveland he worked as a salesman in a shoe business, also he learned in evening courses, Attending the productions of the local permanent Yiddish theatres (Globe, Deutsches), and feeling the "pull" of the theatre, he participated in mass scenes during the guest appearance of the "Vilna Troupe", then in a dramatic section in a series of one-acters.

1926 -- settled in New York and entered into the "Artef Studio", where he took theatre courses for several years, participating in the first Artef offering (director Jacob Mestel) of Steiman's "Beym toyer", and acted then in almost all of the Artef productions under the direction of Benno Schneider, Benjamin Zemach, Joseph Buloff, R. Ben-Ari and Mark Schweid.

After the downfall of the Artef theatre, he dedicated himself to individual performances in an exclusively humorous program of


Yiddish classical and modern humor in concerts, evenings, innovations, and in Yiddish vaudeville productions in various theatres, as well as master-of-ceremonies for various activities.

Several times G. went on tour across Jewish communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

On 20 March 1950, he was taken in after a test, as a member of the Yiddish Actors Union.

Sh. E.

  • "Tsen yor artef", New York, 1937, pp. 45-46.

  • Dr. N. Swerdlin -- Di ferte "probe" by idishe aktyorn, "Der tog", N. Y., 24 March 1950.

  • Edw. Sh. Sulkes -- Hershl gendel, "Di shtime", Mexico, 12 June 1954.

  • [--] -- Oysergeveynlekher derfolg fun hirshl gendels ovnt, "Der veg", Mexico, 25 Jun 1954.

  • [--] -- Der ovnt fun h. gendel adurkh mit groys derfolg, "Di shtime", Mexico, 25 June 1954.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2121.

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