Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Nathan Klinger

Born in 1893 in Vigonko, near Chertkow, Galicia, to Chasidic parents. The family moved to Czernowitz, where K. completed a folkshul, a small gymnazie, and a trade school. In his youth he arrived in Vienna, where he worked as a trade employee, where he took to studying in a German dramatic school, but he had to give it up due to material conditions. He entered into a Yiddish dramatic circle under the name of "Ferdinand LaSalle" and debuted in Gordin's "Der vilder mentsh (The Wild Man)."

As a professional actor he began with director Akselrad, under the stage direction of Laresko, and shortly afterwards went over to the director Ebel, then to Zuckerberg in Krakow, where he played buff comics. At the outbreak of the First World War he was taken into the military and was in the war until 1918, when he returned and was taken in Vienna into the "Folksbiene" under the direction of Itskhok Deutsch. From there K. went over to the operetta theatres in Poland as a fat- and character-comic, then in character roles in the reorganized "VIKT" under the auspices of Zygmunt Turkow and Ida Kaminska.

K. traveled to Argentina, where he became a member of the first folks theatre, under the leadership of Rudolph Zoslavsky, then in theatres under the direction of Morevsky and L. Sokolow, and by himself led troupes, founding theatres in Rosario, Montevideo (Uruguay). K married the actress Tsilie Tekst and remained in Argentina to act, where he had the opportunity to participate in the serious repertoire with Maurice Schwartz, Jacob Ben-Ami, and Joseph Buloff. K. was in many tours across the Argentinean


province, and in the South American countries, at first with troupes, then as a recitator of songs, poems and monologues.

On 5 October 1968 K. suddenly died in Buenos Aires

In the necrology of "Di yidishe tseitung," it was said:

"Nathan Klinger came here as a character actor and had occupied a prominent position in all the troupes where he was. Nathan Klinger was an actor, who every year had continued in better Yiddish theatres and part-time agreed on a small salary to play in the better theatres. Nathan Klinger always used to proudly be reminded of which stage artist he has ever played with, and is great in his main roles: 'Meshulakh' in Sh. Anski's 'Der dybuk,' 'Don' in Sh. Anski's 'Day and Night,' 'Khatzkel Drakhme' in Jacob Gordin's 'Gott, mentsh un tayvl (God, Man and Devil).' "

Nathan Klinger played Yiddish theatre for every genre, here, in the near and far lands. Buenos Aires, however, was the city where he withdrew from everywhere. His daughter lived here, Ester Rokhl, with her husband and children, and here they knew him when he was young and fresh. Nathan Klinger possessed within himself humor, and as a conferencee. At the artistic Sunday mornings, which used to be the case here. He used to take it very seriously."

Shmuel Rozhansky characterized him so:

"Nathan Klinger was a rosover Yiddish actor from the old guard. With Galician wisdom he fit himself into literary repertoire, just like in an operetta, but he had shone on Saturday, as he rejoiced like a child, although he was never childish. Always a character actor, rezianerish, a father role player, and most of it grew in Chasidic roles.

In Buenos Aires he maintained a home, traveling across the world, not just with a engagement in his pocket. ...until his feet carried him, he let himself out into the broader world, on the guest board when he was in Buenos Aires there wasn't anything for him to do. It led him to love for the better. He always sought stuff to recite as an actor, and with such a program he was released across the world and also across the Argentinean province.

[ed. note: There may be more to this biography, but it cannot be found within the extant pages to volume 7.]






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6217.

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