When the Second World
War broke out in 1939, L, Levine, David Zayderman,
Chana Lerner and Lola Folman fled from Warsaw and on
the way found people who were traveling back in the
direction of Warsaw, which they had said that the
Germans are dangerous, and they were (November 1939)
returning to Warsaw, and like Romanian citizens, she
had a Romanian passport, the Germans allowed you to
go home to Romania, and her husband remained in
Warsaw, from where he later was saved to Soviet
Russia. With their son, through Vienna, she arrived
in Romania, and in 1944 both arrived in the land of
Israel, where she performed in Yiddish and Hebrew.
In 1949 she was engaged for Buenos Aires ("Mitre"
Theatre, directors Willy Goldstein and Miriam
Lerner), where she had the opportunity to play with
the guest-starring Michal Michalesko and Maurice
Schwartz. Being ripped away for ten years from her
husband, all of whom were considered dead. She
married the actor and singer Michal Michalovic and
stayed in or out of Buenos Aires or in Brazil. When
her first husband, Chaim Levine, in 1957 returned
from Soviet Russia, where he was arrested for
thirteen years in the local jail, she came to him in
London and both in 1958 returned to Buenos Aires,
where they became partners with Willy Goldstein in
the "Argentine" Theatre, and she performed in "Di
varshever khazante" and had a colossal success. Due
to illness and that she got upset with her first
husband and turned back to her second husband, and
pulled her back completely off the stage.
On 28 March 1965 she,
after a long illness, passed away in Sao Paolo,
In a necrology in the
Buenos Aires "Yidishe tsaytung," it was said:
"Many years have passed
since Jennie Lavitz was ill with leukemia, blood
cancer, which devours the red blood cells. Five
years this darkened her life. Death was constantly
in her presence. ...The Jews in San Paolo,
Argentina, did much to help Jennie Lavitz to stay
The Jewish community in
Buenos Aires saw her, for the first time, in 1948
(1949), when she was in the prime of her career as a
fully temperamental soprano. Here singing and
dancing a Romanian Donna was able to bring her
audience to its feet. At that time she was in full
bloom of her beauty and her appeal. She was
attractive, unlike most of the actresses on the
Yiddish stage. She possessed so much charm and
talent that she quickly enthralled her audience."
Y. Sh. Goldstein
describes her thus:
Jennie Lavitz should
have held a higher position in the Yiddish theatre.
However, she didnít have the good fortune to do so.
If there still remained in the Yiddish theatre
another such a talented performer like Jennie Lavitz,
she would have had to be very special to reach her
level of competence. There was even some talk that
she would come to America one day to perform.
Nothing came of it.
In the last years prior
to the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, the young Jennie
Lavitz was extremely popular in the Yiddish theatre
in Warsaw, Lodz and all over Poland. She came to
Warsaw from Bucharest with her husband, the singer
and actor, Chaim Levine. Immediately, she became a
beloved star. Her soprano roles, when she played
them, took on new light when she appeared on the
stage with her svelte figure and her black, laughing
eyes. This went on till the outbreak of World War
When I was, in 1946,
newly arrived from the Soviet Union in Israel, I saw
her perform in Tel Aviv. In fact, she was singing in
Hebrew with an unsurpassed success. The famous
Hebrew poet Nathan Alterman wrote Hebrew songs for
her, in a light genre. Every song by Nathan Alterman
was a work of art, and the interpretation by Jennie
Lavitz was masterful. They were so proud of each
other. Jennie Lavitz received an artistic reception
thanks to Altermanís magnificence, and Alterman had
the greatest satisfaction when he saw with how much
charm, good taste, and mastery Jennie Lavitz sang
his songs. All of Israel relished the new Hebrew
soprano Jennie Lavitz. They, as it is said, carried
her on their hands.
When she arrived -- she
told me at then -- that she didnít know any Hebrew.
But, she caught on to the language immediately.
Right after she arrived in Israel she sang a Yiddish
theatre song with Rumshinskyís music called "The
Raisin." ÖThe song, I think, was sung in America by
Molly Picon. In Israel, Jennie Lavitz sand "Raisins"
driving her public wild. When I arrived, they didnít
call her by her own name, rather they called her
Alas, she was not
destined to have much joy. She left Israel for
South America; here she was, once again, drawn to
the Yiddish theatre. The end was that she left the
Hebrew stage but never had an opportunity to return
to the Yiddish stage. Her long illness turned her,
even as she still lived, into an object "from the
Without exaggeration, with Jennie
Lavitzís death, a brilliant star was extinguished in
the cloudy, tearful sky of the Yiddish theatre.
Sh.E. from her husband