Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Mordechai Hochberg


Born on 23 May 1878 in Olyka, Volin Gubernia, into a poor family. He learned in a cheder, then in a Slonim yeshiva. Here he secretly became familiar with the Haskalah literature, and soon thereafter traveled to Berdichev, where he became a choir boy for Nissan Belzer.

A short time later he entered in as a chorus singer with Fishzon, where he also acted in smaller, then larger roles. However, the status of Yiddish theatre did not satisfy him, and he went to Vienna where he became a teacher of Yiddish and Hebrew and received through this the means to put together and systemize his education. He also learned in Berlin, and may have then returned to Russia, where he associated himself with the Russian state as a conductor (a long time with great success in the troupe of Zhukov). H. became drawn to the Yiddish stage, and he entered into it as a conductor in Yiddish theatre, giving himself entirely to performing on the stage.

After touring for several years with various itinerant troupes, H. settled for a span of several years in Lodz, where he was employed by Zandberg in the local Grand Theatre. During wartime, H. migrated across Russia, hereby composing in Odessa compositions for Itzhak Nozyk's operettas "Reyzele dem rbins" and "Malkhale soldat".

 After the World War, H. immigrated to Argentina, where he wrote musical numbers for the local Yiddish theatre, for the staged lebensbilder and operettas, and composed the music for the operettas: "Di berditshver khasuna" and "A oykhukh iber der gemora".

In August 1930 H. came to guest-star with a troupe in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and on 22 August 1930 he was killed in an automobile accident. The escort was a rare and impressive commemoration. The local Yiddish newspaper "Idishe prese" had on 25 August 1930 issued a special volume, dedicated to his passing.

H.'s wife, Rukhl, acts on the Yiddish stage.

  • [--] -- Tsum toyt fun idishen teater-boyer un kompozitor mordechai hokhberg, "Idishe prese", Rio de Janeiro, 25 August 1930.

  • Nathan Klinger -- Oyf mordechai hokhbergs frishn kbr, dort.

  • Itzhak Lubeltshik -- Mordechai hochberg z"l, dort.

  • A. Bergman -- Idishe eninim, dort.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 574.

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