Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Sonia [Yofe] Kopelman

Born in 1903 in Cherkassy, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine.

Father -- a laborer. In 1910 she went over to Yekaterinoslav with her family, where she received her education. In 1916 she worked in a cardboard/box factory, and at the same time attended evening school. In 1918 she became a member in a local Yiddish drama circle, where she soon became very active. In 1920 she entered into a professional Yiddish theatre collective with whom she traveled to Baku, where she acted for two years and then went with the collective to Moscow, where she acted until 1923.

Until 1929 K. was active in a Jewish movable theatre collective in the name of Esther Rukhl Kaminska, and at the end of the year she was taken into the first Jewish moveable State Theatre of the Ukraine, where she acted until 1932. In 1933 she acted in organizing a Jewish worker's theatre in Baku, where she acted for seven years. here she became the leading actress in the ensemble, and embodied the same responsible roles, among others "Laurencia" in Lope de Vega's "Shepsn-kval", "Yehudis" in "Uriel Acosta", "Amalye" (Schiller's "Robbers"), "Abigail" ("Shulamis" by Goldfaden), "Rukhele" (in Sholem Aleichem's "Stempenyu"), "Anna Bogdanovitsh" (Daniel's "Yulius"), "Hadasah" (Markish's "Kol Nidre"), "Di meshugene" (Reznik's "Recruits"), "Rivkah" ("Di shvester" by Peretz), "Reyzl" ("Blondzhende shtern" by Sholem Aleichem), and "Alena" (Kropivnitski's "Di shpin"). However, no less she herself excelled in the roles of "Eti Meni" (Sholem Aleichem's "Dos groyse gevins"), "Sirandaline" (Goldon's "Di virtin fun hotel"), "Mirele Efros", "Krutshinina" (Ostrovski's "On shuld shuldike"), "Fanitshke" ("Mentshn" by Sholem Aleichem), "Sarah" (Sholem Aleichem's "Der blutiker shpas") and "Sonia" in "Hirsch Leckert".

In 1940 K. went over to the Odessa Jewish State Theatre, where she acted in the main roles until the Soviet-Nazi War. Her only son went away to the front, and she was evacuated with a group of actors to Tashkent, where she performed as a recitator in the local philharmonic. She also performed in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

At the end of 1942 she was sent to Samarkand, where she worked in the Kharkov Jewish State Theatre. In 1944 she was placed in Kokand, where she acted in the Kiev Jewish State Theatre.

For her social work, K. received five testimonial awards.

Sh. E. from Yehoshua Lubomirski.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6140.

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