Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Samuel Goldenburg
(Sholem Goldstein)

Born February 8, 1886 in Brest-Litovsk, Polish Lithuania. 

His father was a lumber merchant and a Trisk Chassid. 

G. studied in cheders, in the Brisk Yeshiva, and with his grandfather Rabbi Yoshe Ber Soloveytshik (the Brisker Rov). When his parents migrated to Warsaw, he started studying with Rabbi Arentshe, and as an extern [taking exams but not classes] in secular subjects.

Once he sang in front of a group of students of the conservatory, and they convinced him to study music. G. began to study with private teachers and, still in the conservatory, where he studied as a military director, he supported himself by giving lectures in music and language. 

However, due to the crisis at the time in Poland, he lost the lectureship. Then a Yiddish troupe arrived, with Lempkovitsh as director, and Lempkovitsh advised him to join the chorus in order to earn a living.

Still a student, G. played [in] Russian with romantic roles, and once when they presented Sholem Aleichem's "Sown and Scattered"
["Tsezeyt un tseshpreyt"], and an actor couldn't pronounce the word
"internationalism", they gave G. the role. In that way he
became an actor, which led to a rift between him and his father.


Meanwhile, a troupe arrived in Warsaw with Meerson and Sam Adler, and G. started playing the role "Karl Moor" in [Friedrich] Schiller's "The Robbers", but soon he started playing father roles. 

He came to London to avoid the draft. He was not permitted to join the professional theatre. He founded a worker's group called "Dramatic Arts" [Dramatishe Kunst], and he lived as a piano teacher until Sigmund Feinman [18621909] gave him the role "Jacob Enman" in Dimov's "Hear, Oh Israel" ["Shma yisroel"]. 

He began to play romantic leads again. Sam Wallerstein took him for 1-1/2 years to South Africa. He returned to play in London, then Paris, then again in London and Paris, from where he traveled to Argentina. Thereafter he traveled again to Paris, London, and again to Argentina.

In 1917, G. came to America and appeared with Thomashefsky in the National Theatre [111 - 117 E. Houston Street, New York, closed in 1951, demolished in 1959] in the Spanish drama "On Sinful Soil" by Gimori (announced as his translation). 

Later G. played in Philadelphia, New York, Philadelphia (as director), Amphion Theatre in New York [437 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; torn down in 1940] (director), and since 1925 as director and actor in the National Theatre. 

 In 1929, G. played in the Yiddish Art Theatre; here he was also a teacher of voice development in the dramatic studio at the Art Theatre.

In 1929 G. founded a Yiddish dramatic school, which existed a short time.

G. was a member of the Publication Committee of the Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre.

Specialty: Dramatic romantic roles and character roles

M. E.

  • B. Gorin -- History of the Yiddish Theatre, Vol. II, pp 198-201.

  • Liliput -- "The new Yiddish actor with Tomashefsky", "Di varhayt", New York, Nov 25, 1916.

  • Uriel Mazik -- Picture gallery of our Yiddish actors, "Der tog", New York, May 4 1918.

  • Samuel Goldenburg -- My Best Role, "Arthur Black" Morning Journal", April 28, 1922.

  • Samuel Goldenburg -- The audience and I, "Der tog", New York, March 23, 1928.

  • A. Frumkin -- Samuel Goldenburg concerning the crisis on the Yiddish Stage, "Morning Journal", January 27, 1928.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 271.

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