Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Solomon Krause


K. was born on 4 July 1876 in Warsaw, Poland. 

His father was a waiter. 

Until the age of ten he studied in cheders and then in Dickstein’s school for mathematics and science. K. sang in the choir of the great synagogue on Tłomackie Street and was brought by Jacob P. Adler into the Jewish Eldorado Theatre's chorus.

When he was thirteen, he stopped his studies at the third class of the school of mathematics and science, gathered together a group of young boys and went with them by foot  to a summer apartment[house] to Mrozis(?), near Warsaw,  to set up[?] Fireworks for Goldfaden’s “Shulamit”, where he played the role of Shulamit. For this, his father punished him by sending him to work for a [bootmaker=komashenmakher], where he worked as an apprentice for one-and-a-half years.

Szliferstein, the actor, took him to Tomaszow, Piotrków Gubernia, where he debuted in the role of “Rudolf” in “Dora”. From Tomaszow,  the troupe went to Lodz where Szliferstein was supposed to appear in “Tzigetang”[?], but he suffered a sudden stroke and K. had to step in using Sz’s name[?]. This marked Krause’s beginning as a professional actor and he continued to travel with Szliferstein in Poland for four years.



In 1895 K. joined the Kaminski troupe and traveled with them for four years in Russia. In 1899 he joined Kompaneyets [troupe] as a comedian and then joined Stambulka’s[?]. Later K. worked with Fishzon in Warsaw and also was introduced to Krause-Miller, who later became his wife, on stage. Soon afterwards, K. founded his own troupe, later  joined Sabsey, next he traveled with his own troupe and then returned to Fishzon.

Zina Rappel told how in Kiev, Fishzon, the director of the troupe, asked K. to teach her “German” so she could play roles in the troupe:

“Krause felt very [geshmeikhelt=con-like]  that I took lessons from him. He said that once I knew “German” I would be a great actress. However, he taught me the roles in “German” not to play for Fishzon, but for totally different reasons.

Fishzon received notice[?] that he had been deceiving the government by acting in Yiddish, not German, and while Fishzon was busy intervening on behalf of his troupe, K. made a deal with [tzunoifshreiben?] with  Kompaneyets who was performing with his troupe in Priloki and K with Zina Rappel and a few other actors joined his troupe."

Rappel wrote that K. continued to tutor her, behaving like a devoted [getreier] brother.

Wandering through cities and villages, the troupe arrived to perform in Lodz. K. left Kompaneyets’s troupe and set up a small troupe with which he traveled to villages around Lodz, doing good business, “However, Krause’s ambition”, Rappel wrote, “was to compete[?] in a big way[?] and arriving in Elisavetgrad, he engaged Meerson as stage director”. The troupe grew bigger, business got worse, and K. reunited with Kompaneyets once again.

In the meantime the Russian-Japanese war broke out and theatre business became very bad, as Rappel wrote:

“Krause was a man who was not afraid and did not change his aspirations to support the troupe, and thus he came to an understanding with Kornblit from Constantinople and signed a contract with him”.

For a few months, the troupe performed in Constantinople and K. staged Pinski’s “The Zvi Family”.

In 1909 K. married Gorenka (Miriam Gurewich), the Ukrainian-Yiddish actress and both toured Russia and then Constantinople. In Constantinople they performed Gordin’s repertoire for three months, then toured Rumania (with Aaron Lebedeff and Misha and Celia  Boodkin before going to Warsaw.

Later, when the “Fareinikete Troupe” [The United Troupe] was set up, K. became its stage manager, producing a few plays, among them Paula R’s “Motel the Shoemaker” with Esther Rachel Kaminska as the leading lady. K. then got in touch with America to import the new repertoire of Yiddish theatre. After the collapse of the “United Troupe”, K. set up the “Spivakovsky-Krause Troupe”. In Kiev, K. met Peretz Sandler who was conducting in a Russian operetta theatre and had him join the Yiddish theatre.

In 1913 K. and Miriam Gurewich arrived in America, where they played for one year before K. returned to Warsaw but, due to the First World War, he began to wander about in Russia.  Upon returning to America he divorced Gurewich, later married a woman who was not an actress, became stage manager of various troupes and also acted.

During the season of “The Goldene Keyt” ( The Gold Chain) K. was engaged at the Yiddish Art Theatre. In his memoirs, Maurice Schwartz wrote as follows:

“The actor Shlomo Krause excelled in the episodic role of a Chasid who comes to his rabbi in order to ask for advice. Due to his good acting and serious attitude to the theatre, Shlomo was signed up as a permanent member of the troupe, and that he would stay with the troupe for as long as he lived, and so Shlomo Krause was always the first to be engaged”.

From then on, every season, K. was tied to the “Yiddish Art Theatre”, sometimes playing small episodic roles and occasionally, especially in dramas, a few greater roles in which he demonstrated tremendous devotion and serious attitude, making the critics happy every time.

On 29 April 1950 K. passed away in New York and was buried in the Montefiore Cemetery in St. Albans, Long Island, New York.

M. E. and Sh. E. from Wolf Mercur.

  • Aharon Lager – Yiddish theatre does not rest[won’t rest?], “Di Yiddishe Zeitung”, B”A, 5 October 1930.

  • Aharon Lager- Going on tour to Constantinople, ibid., 10,12,15 October 1930.

  • Maurice Schwartz- Maurice Schwatrz tells,” Forv.”, L.A. 22 December 1941.

  • Nehemia Zucker- “Yiddish theatre for generations”, Buenos Aires, 1944’ pp. 176-191, 244.

  • Julius Adler- Stories from the world of Yiddish theatre, “M”P”, N.Y., 21 September, 2 October 1949.

  • Boaz Young – “My life in the theatre”, New York, 1950, pp. 275-76.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3105.

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