Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Yidl Goldfaden
(Iliya Goldenfodim)


Born in 1859 in Konstantinov, Volin Gubernia, as the third son of Chaim Lipe Goldenforim.

Together with his brother Avraham, he completed the rabbinical school in Zhitomir, where he had, as well as his brother, excelled as a student.

In his younger years, G. worked in his father's profession, in clock-making, but when his brother founded in Odessa a Yiddish theatre, G. joined the troupe and acted there for a certain time.

One of his best roles was as "Hotsmakh" in "Di kishufmakherin".

Due to dissension with his brother, G. performed outside of the troupe and founded his own troupe, which also took the name "Goldfaden", and performed his brother's plays, and also several pieces that he had written by himself. As well G. later no longer took up with the theatre, and those plays, and all the material he had about his troupe -- became lost.

G. left the Yiddish stage when the contamination by the Russian administration began. He then went back to clock-making.

For six years, G. worked on a clock, which had made him famous over the entirety of Russia. For that clock, G. received a medal from Nicholas II. Then G. had in the span of six months made in miniature a copy of the Eiffel Tower.

In his later years, N. invented a capture to capture thieves. It was also a kind of a clock.

G. was the true type of a perfectionist, a man with an artistic soul, restless, and he had constantly threw himself into one profession after another, not developing himself properly in one profession.

G. sold his famous clock and had, in 1904, in the time of the Russian-Japanese War, opened a pharmacy in Charbin.

There in 1910 he also, far from his family, passed away.

One of his sons, Wolf, is an actor on the Yiddish stage in America.

Sh. E. from Wolf Goldfaden.

  • David Kessler -- Vi azoy ikh bin gevorn an aktyor? "Der tog", N. Y., 7 January 1917.

  • David Kessler -- Di tsurus fun a grinem aktyor, "Der tog", N. Y., 14 January 1917.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Zeyn bruder hot erfundn dos yidishe teater, un er hot erfundn a kinstlerishn zeyger, "Teat" tst", Warsaw, 7, 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 369.

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