Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yaakov Ber Gimpel


Born cir. 1840 in Lemberg, Galicia.

For many years he was a chorus singer in the Polish theatre.

As Joseph Weinstock reports, G, on his own initiative, worked actively in the Lemberg regional government [and received] a concession for the Yiddish theatre -- as a reward for his many years of activity in the Polish state theatre.

In 1889 G. founded the first stable Yiddish theatre in Lemberg, which became very popular in the whole of the Yiddish theatrical world. G. called his theatre "Yiddish-Polish", but the Polish public [kenn dem], and he had to call it "German-Yiddish Theatre". On the local stage, for a certain time also [geshtanen] under the leadership of Avraham Goldfaden, and they became educated under the [tsendlikler] Yiddish actors, who were earlier in the chorus of G., and here began to act and afterwards became the preeminent Yiddish theatre powers.

His many Yiddish plays, which also includes several Goldfaden operettas, had their premieres on the Gimpel stage. Berta Kalich, who began her stage career as a chorus singer with G., pictures him as such (following translation of Kalich quote needs work):

"An honest person, a sincere person, with a strong sense for justice. A tall giant of a figure. As in the chorus he had come with [drk-arts]....

There is no one who has fallen[?], so it is possible to have a Yiddish theatre in Lemberg and that it would pay off.

The [frumakes] have him in no way allowed such "Khilul Hashem". She has rapidly with a program if any will make a joke? of Judaism (yiddishkeyt) in such a brutal manner. Also the Lemberg cultural community [kahal] was opposed."

Since 1906 the theatre has been led by G.'s son Emil. His second son, Adolph, is the orchestra conductor in the same theatre.

In January (Shabbat) 1906, G. passed away in Lemberg.

Sh. E. from Joseph Weinstock and M. E. from Peter Graff.

  • B. Gorin -- "Di Geshikhte fun idishn teater (The History of the Yiddish Theatre)", Volume II, p. 142.

  • Jacob Gordin -- Dos idishe teater in galitsyen, "Di varheyt", N. Y., 23 November 1907.

  • Bertha Kalich -- (Memoirs), "Der tog", 15 April 1925.

  • M. Osherowitz -- (Memoirs of Regina Prager), "Forward", 25 September 1926.

  • M. Myodovnik -- Meyne teater zikhroynes, zhurnal "Der shtern", Minsk, 2, 1926.

  • Moshe Frostig -- Gimpels teater in lemberg untergegangen, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 26 March 1926.

  • Anshel Schorr -- Dos teater in shenk, "Teat"ts", Warsaw, (10) 3, 1929.

  • D. Shedletski -- Idisher teater in lemberg halt beym untergen, "Forward", N. Y., 1 March 1929.

  • Sholem Perlmutter -- Der suf fun lemberger idisher teater fun vanen amerike hot importirt ihre bavuskte artistn, "Der tog", N. Y., 7 February 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 479.

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