Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Hershl (Harry) Kaufman


Born in 1880 in Britshan, Bessarabia, to well-to-do parents.

Until age six he was completely dumb. Until the age of fourteen he learned in a cheder.

His first sister's wedding, which was in America, brought him there, and after two years drudged through various trades., K. became a fur worker and took his brother-in-law's family name "Kaufman".

At each time he there were many future actors who worked in the fur trade, and he used to from time to time give amateur performances, and so as K. had a good voice for singing, and even in his alter heym, had as an "alto", sung with Cantor Moshe Achler (as he was called, because he loved very much to eat), with Cantor Gedalya Sholtik in Kamenets Podolsk, and with Zeydl Rovner, K. had himself participated in the local productions, debuting as "Shmeya" in "Khbud ab".

When he opened a Jewish vaudeville house in New York, K. performed therein, and besides acting, he also wrote for his own one- and two-acters.

In 1905, when a prompter became sick, K. performed for him, and already since then has remained a prompter.


For four years K. was Protocol leader in the Yiddish vaudeville union, and since he was in the Actors Union, he was Protocol Secretary there for thirty years, and afterwards also in the same office, in the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance.

K. also wrote the following melodramas and scenes: "Der preyz far reykhtum", "Erlekhe froyen", "Heylike nshmus", "A harts fun shteyn", "Der yidisher shtern", which was performed in the Yiddish theatres of America.

In the last years K. also was a reader of the Torah in a synagogue.

After a long illness, K. passed away on 1 January 1959 in New York and was brought to his eternal rest at Mount Hebron, on the grounds of his landsleit (countrymen).

Sh. E.

  • Necrology in "Forward".






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 4, page 2523.

Copyright   Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.