Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Herman

H. was born in June 1876 in Warsaw, Poland, to Chasidic parents. He learned in cheder with Yoshe Khrif, afterwards in a Bet HaMedrash. Under the influence of a book of Michal Vebers and other Haskalah literature, he began to fall into doubts, became a heretic, and at the age of eighteen took to learning in geheyt mudi-huts. Soon he also began to write in Polish and Hebrew (ignoring Yiddish) and appeared at lectures and declamations in private locations. He found himself pulled into a simulated Jewish and artistic environment, and he took from his financial measures a break from his studies in Polish and traveled to Krakow, where he dernentert precisely the Yiddish direction and makht for and task to begin the level for Yiddish theatre. He went away to enter into the Warsaw Polish dramatic school, where he graduated as a director.

In 1903 H. was engaged by a dramatic circle, with which he also put on in 1907 within the Warsaw theatre Letni, Peretz' "S'brent (It's Burning)" and "Shvester", Sholem Aleichem's "Mazel-tov" and Asch's "Mitn shtrom".

In the spring of 1908 he directed Peretz Hirshbein's "Tkyet-khf" for a Lodz dramatic circle, which was performed with parts from the author. He planned together with Peretz Hirshbein to found a "literary dramatic theatre", but it was never achieved.

H. went to Vienna and together with Egon Brecher organized a troupe and also his wife in German Pinski's "Di familye tzvi (The Family Tsvi)" and "Isaac Sheftel", [according to Shakhna Epstein]


--"Der eybiker yid (The Eternal Jew)"], Asch's "Mitn shtrom", several one-acters from Peretz and also set H.'s adaptation of Mendele's "Di klyatshe". However after it played for three months the management of the theatre went bankrupt.

He went back to Russia, where H. also put on several one-act plays with the "Hirshbein troupe" (with which he also acted with) and opened afterwards in Warsaw, together with Peretz and Dr. Mukdoni, the first Yiddish dramatic school, from which there came Zygmunt and Jonas Turkow, Jacob Waislitz and other professional Yiddish actors.

The school used to from time to time arrange performances. H. also directed several productions in the Lodz Dramatic Circle, "Harfe" and "Dramatishe kunst (dramatic arts)" and often traveled around the Polish province as a recitator, especially for Peretz's "Di goldene keyt (The Golden Chain)".

When the "Vilna Troupe" came to Warsaw, H. performed together with his students Norvid, Tarlo, Miryam Shik and Shidlo, and there he also put on Hirshbein's "Navla", Schnitzer's "Libeley", Hirshbein's "Der tkyet-khf" and Anski's "Der dybuk". H.'s direction conception of "Dybbuk" was later put on through various "Dybbuk" productions, on both the Yiddish and non-Yiddish stages. After putting on "Der dybuk" in Lodz's Yiddish Dramatic Theatre (Dir. Tselmeyster), H. put on, with part local actors and a part of Azro's "Vilna Troupe", guest-starring across Eastern Europe. He returned to Warsaw, H. founded, together with Dr. M. Weichert, a new dramatic studio, from which came the current Yiddish actor David Birnbaum, Zalman Hirshfeld, Avraham Wolfshtat, Mansdorf, Melnik, Patashinsky, Kramarzh and Kaminer.

In April 1927 H. also put on with the "Goldfaden-fareyn (Goldfaden Union)" in Stanislawow Peretz's "Baynakht oyfn altn mark", afterwards Levinson's "Di vayberishe kniplekh" and other plays. Afterwards he went back in as director in the Polish "Vilna Troupe" and also performed with them Levinson's "Di vayberishe kniplekh", Hebel's "Yehudis and holfenes", Peretz's "Baynakht oyfn altn mark", V. Katayev's comedy "Man, vayn un revolutye ("Di kvadratur fun rod") and Prager's "Der nsyun".

On 20 December H. performed in "Vim"'t" in Warsaw, Dr. B. Tspur's "Oyfshtand".

H. also was one of the founders of the small arts theatre "Azazel" and for a certain time was its director.

H. also translated the five-act drama "Lasmi" by Jan Farbitzuus.

  • M. Venvild -- "Pseydo-kunst un pseydo-kritik", Lodz, 1921.

  • Dr. Anzelm Kleynman -- Der "dybuk" in new york and in berlin, "Yiddish teater", Warsaw, 1922, IV-V, pp. 30-36.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- "Der dybuk" in "di nblh" by the Vilna Troupe, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 15 Feb. 1924.

  • V. Grossman -- Der groyser shprung fun dem "dybuk" biz tsu der "Navla", "Der tog", N. Y., 6 February 1924.

  • A. Litvak -- Di yunge herman-troupe, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 67, 1925.

  • David Herman -- Peretz un di erste idishe teater-studye in varshe, "Ubzere folks-tsaytung", Ilustrirte Peretz-Beylane, Warsaw, 87, 1925.

  • Michael Weichert -- "Teater un drame", 1926, I, pp. 44-45, 107-121; II, pp. 63-66.

  • Nakhman Meizil -- Y. L. Peretz un dos idishe teater, "Idish teater", Warsaw, 1927, 2, pp. 165-167.

  • Aaron Zeitlin -- Bay di vilner in lemberg, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 34, 1928.

  • N. Meizil -- "Di veyber'she kniplekh" by "Di vilner", "Literarishe bleter", 34, 1928.

  • Nakhman Meyzil -- Peretz's "Baynakht oyfn altn mark" by the "Vilner trupe", "Literarishe bleter", 42, 1928.

  • N. M. -- Kvadratur fun rod fun V. katayev bey di "Vilner" in varshe, "Literarishe bleter" 52, 1929.

  • Dr. Y. B. Tspur -- Oykh vegn meyn "Oyfshtand", "Literarishe bleter", 3, 1930.

  • Sh. L. Schneiderman -- Dos vikhtikste fun vikhikstn, "Literarishe bleter" Warsaw, 8, 1930.

  • Peretz Hirshbein -- In kamf far a besern teater, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 43, 1930.

  • Peretz Hirshbein -- Di teatrale ekrh, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 45-46, 1930.






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 634.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.