Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Aneta Gradner

Born in Kremenchug, father -- a boot maker.

About her arrival to the stage, Fiszon relates in his memoirs: "Acting in the 'Grandmother with Grandson' in Kremenchug, Gradner there became a good brother to the tobacco worker and boot maker. One of them, David, was geshmanen by him ten new machines, fifteen foreign workers, his two sons and two daughters. There they used to carouse, and once the father had, after a short span of time said to his daughters: "We, angels, are only to prove [to] Fiszon that you can. We do but sing as the grandson sings to the grandmother." She was not allowed a long request, and was given that to sing, that we all began to wonder. We had but until then not heard such singing. Israelik soon made a proposal that she should take part in a Sabbath spectacle, D. H. in the "Bobe mitn eynikl (Grandmother with Grandson)." In the "play," G. acted in the role of "Grandson." Later she married Gradner.

According to Yitskhok Libresko, when Gradner had already begun to act with Goldfaden, he used to express that he had at home a wife, and that if they wanted him to give money, as he wanted to bring her, and she wanted to be a good actress.

When they finally brought her, she was scared to come on the stage. But soon when she first performed, she felt the audience very much, and this had aroused in her a desire to act.


B. Gorin recalls that "when Gradner heard that Goldfaden had procured a woman (Sophia Karp) for his theatre, he didn't have to gerut, and began to look for a woman with light. S. Goldstein, who had played together with him, had called to help him procure a woman, and thanks to him Sara (Karp) was taken into Gradner's company.

"Before that happened, Gradner had written to his wife in Kremenchug that she should come to him in Iasi, and she was ready to come into his company, and when Goldstein came with Sarah, Gradner's wife was already playing."

G.'s first performance thus occurred around Iasi circa 1878. Since that time she played together with her husband and followed the same path as him.

According to Ferdinand Stoyb, N. did not know any notes, however he had a good ear and memorized and had a full coloratura voice. During the last years her passion faded, and drinking began to affect her voice.

After her husband's death, G. went to Warsaw, together with Adler, (who then returning to London from Chicago), and after playing there for a sort time, G. returned to London, where she passed away in 1888, and came to her eternal rest at Stratford Cemetery.

M.E. from Yitskhok Libresko and F. Stoyb.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. I, pp. 194, 198-9, 210-1, 234, 242; Vol. II, pp. 46-47, 50, 150.

  • Jacob P. Adler -- 40 yor oyf der bine, "Di varhayt," N.Y., 12 May 1917.

  • Avraham Fiszon  (memoirs) -- "Morning Journal," 13 February 1925.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 507.

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