Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Wolf Goldfaden


Born 14 October 1884 in Kiev, Ukraine.

His father was Yudl Goldfaden, a brother of Avraham Goldfaden.

G. studied in a Niezshin gymnasium; afterwards he received a diploma as a provisor from Kiev University. He did not take the work to heart.

This had him consider the stage, and with great difficulties he came in 1906 to the Petersburg dramatic school with Nikolai Popov, conductor for Komisarzshevska's theatre.

In the span of seventeen years G. played in various Russian troupes with such actors as Davidov, Varlamov, Heydeburov, Kharlamov, Polevitska and many others, passing with them through Russia, Poland, Lithuania, the Caucasus and Siberia.

In 1917 G. was in Odessa once with the founder of the first actor's union and he was chosen as the first president of the union.

In 1919 he was the leader of the society "Hazamir" in Kherson and vice-president for the society. In 1920 he founded, under the Bolshevistsher society in Nikolayev, an intimate theatre named after "the new road/way", which was the sole theatre in this region.

At the same time G. gave way with society work in dramatic studios, in the society and in the cooperatives, and composed thirty-three one-acters in Russia, which were played there.

In 1923 G. came to America and entered the Yiddish Art Theatre, where he acted until 1926 and took part in tours with the same troupe over western Europe. In 1926-7 he acted at the Garden Theatre in Philadelphia; in 1927-8 again in the [Yiddish] Art Theatre, in 1928-9 at the Folks Theatre, and in 1929-30 in Chicago with Glickman.

Since 1927 G. was an executive member of the Yiddish Actors Union.

G. translated and was listed in the Yiddish "Student Prince" (Columbia Theatre, Philadelphia), Nathanson's "Hinter moyern (Behind Walls)", Yushkevitch's "Di komedie fun heyrat (The Comedy of Weddings)" and Ostrovsky's "Umshuldik-shuldik (Not Guilty, Guilty)" (all three in the Folks Theatre).

Sh. E.

Jacob Mestel -- Who are the players of the New York Yiddish Art Theatre, "Di tseyt", London, 4 April, 1927.






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 1, page 368.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.