Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Berta Kornfeld
(Batya Kurier)


Born on 23 April 1882 in Slavuta, Ukraine, into a well-to-do family. She received a good education in Yiddish and Russian. Moving to Proskurov, she had learned there in a school, which she completed as a teacher. After her mother's death, she went away to Nikolayev, and due to the pogrom she traveled to Odessa, where the family maintained a bar. In Odessa, K. took violin lessons and often used to sing Ukrainian songs, which excited a large audience listeners on the street. After the pogrom in Odessa, K. immigrated to London and there became a seamstress, and at her work, she often used to sing. Once when the owner of the workshop heard her sing, he invited her to participated in an activity of his organization. From there she often used to be invited to sing in various activities, until the local Yiddish actors caught on and took her into the troupe as a chorister and in episodic roles, and once when the prima donna didn't come to a performance of "Ash reh", they gave K. the role and she then became engaged (to the directors of the "Pavilion" Theatre, Silverman and Gordon), to act in prima donna roles.

K. acted for a certain time with the guest-star Charles Nathanson, and when there was created there an operetta troupe, [where] she acted in soubrette roles. K. then traveled with Marinov with a troupe to Argentina, where she acted for eight months in Gordin's plays ("God, Man and Devil", "Sappho", "Kreutzer Sonata"), Asch's "God of Vengeance", and Mirbeau's "Di shlekhte pastukher". After the union of two troupes, and after the prima donna went away, K. went over to act in the prima donna roles

("Sarah" in "The Sacrifice of Isaac', "Dinah" and "Bar Kochba"), acting for four months with the guest-starring Zygmunt Feinman and traveled with him to London, where they acted in the "People's Place", and then in the "Pavilion" Theatre, then in Paris wit the 'United Troupe" (among others, Gazovski, Abraham Teitelbaum and Samuel Goldenburg), from there to South Africa (eight months as a prima donna), back to Paris and Antwerp, London (with the guest-starring Esther-Rukhl Kaminska), Jacob Silbert, Jacob P. Adler, then in a provincial troupe (Manchester, Glasgow), with Morris Moshkovitsh. Later she went to Italy, where her daughter had studied music and had cut short her stage activities.

M. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5070.

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