Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leib Malach
(Leibl Zaltsman)

Born on 27 November 1894 in Vohlin, Radom Gubernia, Poland. His mother, who used the name of her first husband, Malach, passed away when he was ten years old, and his father (Rafael-Mendl Zaltsman, a Jew who was a scholar, an Amshinov Chasid, early on a village religious teacher, then an oilsmith, a horse trader) married a second wife, fully went away from him. From age seven, until age nine, he learned in a religious elementary school (cheder), then for a short time in a house of study (bit-hamedrash). At age ten he became an assistant in Zwolin, then in Radom. At age thirteen he went away to Warsaw, where he was a mirror cutter, a baker boy, a painter and a wallpaper hanger.

At age sixteen, under the effect of the Yiddish newspapers, and from Yiddish theatre, he began to study writing in Yiddish and began to self-educate himself.

In 1915 he debuted with a ballad, "Three," in the "Varshaver togenblat" (under the direction of H.D. Nomberg), then published ballads, poems and legends in various periodical editions of Poland, and since 1919 they were issued in special books.

In 1922 there was published in the Warsaw publishing house of A. Gitlin, M.s "Opfal, realistishe dramatishe poeme in 10 bilder," which often was recited across the Polish province by the actor Jacob Weislitz.

In the same year also M.'s books, "Lidlekh" and "Meshlekh" was published, as well as M's children's plays, "Der zhabe-kenig, a meshele in 2 akts" and "Der vilder prints, a forshtelung."


In 1922 he wandered off to Argentina, where he developed an interest in literary and cultural social activities, attended and wrote for the Jewish communities (yishuvim) of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, helping found a Yiddish library, etc.

In 1924 M. wrote a dramatic poem in three acts, "Dos gorn shtibl," which soon thereafter was published in the Argentinean weekly, "Far groys un kleyn." Fragments of the play in 1926 were staged by the group "Young Argentina" in Buenos Aires.

Later M. completely adapted the play under the name, "Di moyd fun ludmir," which was performed by Maurice Schwartz (New York), and Dr. M. Weichert (Warsaw.)

Fragments of the play in the English translation by Louie Berg were published in an English journal in Seattle, Washington.

In 1926 M. wrote his play, "Ibergus" (from which the first act was published in the journal, "South America," March and April, 1926.) The play was staged in the Yiddish theatre in Buenos Aires, but due to its fighting character against the female merchants in Argentina, it put the pressure on the female merchant--was withdrawn from a poster (?). This was a signal to begin an energetic struggle to free the Yiddish theatre in South America from the harshness and hatred [placed upon] the female merchant and their sacrifices. The struggle was proclaimed by Jacob Botoshansky, and then the topic of the entire Jewish society and thus became the topic of the entire Jewish society and ended up doing it in Yiddish theatre for "Tmaim" (female merchants and harlots), and from then on became forbidden (For a certain time the Yiddish theatre in South America had oyfshriftn on the afishn and across the theatres (for tmaim eyntrit farbotn").

On 18 July 1926 the play was staged in Buenos Aires by the group "Yung Argentina" under the direction of Jacob Botoshansky, and shortly thereafter it was staged in the professional theatre (director--L. Zaslavsky), --in connection with friends who had arrived in North America to become staged by Nathan Goldberg on 9 November 1927 in Bronx's Prospect Theatre under the name, "Gasn-froyen" (Ibergus) with Celia Adler in the main role, and on 1 December 1927 in New York's Irving Place Theatre, under the direction of Max Rosenthal with Celia and Stella Adler in the main roles. At the same time the play continued to be played in the Prospect Theatre with Rose Goldberg in the man role, and later by Celia Adler across the American province, Argentina and Europe, under the name, "Der geler shotn." In February 1928 the same play continued to be staged in Poland through Zaslavsky under the name, "Hertser tsum farkoyfn" and had a great success there.

In 1927 Rudolph Zaslavsky staged in Paris L.'s drama in three acts, "Leybele tentser," which in April 1932 was staged through the author in Philadelphia's Girard Theatre (with Moshe Strassberg in the title role.)

In 1928 in the "Fraye arbeyter shitme" there was published M.'s drama in two scenes, "Shtendik--keinmol," which in the same year was staged by amateurs (stage director--Y. Vaysbord) in Toronto.

In 1928 in an anniversary volume of "Di prese" there was published M.'s "Wine and Blood" (a ballad in one act), which also was published in the "Fraye Arbeyter Shtime" under the name "Petronius," and in 1929 in "Di prese"--his comedy in one act, "The Critic With a Sharp Eye," which in 1929 was staged in Toronto by Morris Novikoff's troupe.

In 1921 in the "Fraye Arbeyter Shtime" there was published M.'s play in one act of a worker's life, "Foystn," which on 5 June 1931 was staged (under the stage direction of A. Gamze), by a drama circle of the Jewish Workers Culture Club in Toronto.

In 1932 "Di prese" published his scenes, "Delegate Doctor Ferfl."

M. also had in handwritten form the never-performed plays: "Mit rfarmakhte oygn" (a drama in 3 acts) in "Esterke the Queen of Poland" (a folk operetta in two acts).

For the season of 1931-32, M. was assistant regisseur in Philadelphia's Girard Theatre.

M. also published many articles about Yiddish theatre, actors and film.

In 1932 M. traveled to Europe

M.'s published works in Yiddish:

(1) L. Malach
    Warsaw 1922 [16 186 pp.)

(2) L. Malach
    Der zhabe-kenig
    A story in 2 acts
    Publishing house A. Gitlin, Warsaw, 1922 (24, 20 pp.)
(3) L. Malach
    Der vilder printz
    Publishing house A. Gitlin, Warsaw, 1922
(4) L. Malach
    Dos gorn shtibl
    A dramatic poem in three acts
    (published in "Far groys un kleyn," Buenos Aires, 1924)
(5b) L. Malach
    (first act published in "South America," Buenos Aires,
    March-April 1926)
(6) L. Malach
    a drama in two scenes
   (published in "Fraye arbeyter shtime," New York, 1926)
(7) Petronius
    ("Fraye arbeyter shtime," New York, 1928)
(8) L. Malach
    Der kritiker mitn sharfn oyg
    ("Di prese," Buenos Aires, 1929)
(9) Foystn (a play in one act of working life)
    by L. Malach
    ("Fraye arbeyater shtime," New York, 5, 12 June 1931)
(10) Delegat doktor ferfl...
      (a scene) by L. Malach
      ("Di prese," Buenos Aires, 14 August 1932)


  • Z. Reisen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. II, pp. 431-434.

  • L. Malach -- "Ibergus," Buenos Aires, 1926 (foreword by Jacob Botoshansky).

  • A. H-n -- "Leybele tentser" fun l. malach in teater di tampl, "Parizer haynt," 28 June 1927).

  • Bleifeder (AY. Grodzensky) -- A gite piese un a gute shpil, "Ovnt-kurier," Vilna, 31 Oct. 1927.

  • Y.H. Radoshitsky -- L. malakh's naye drame, "Der yidisher dzhurnal," Toronto, 9 Nov. 1927.

  • M. Winograd -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeyter shtime," N.Y., N' 12, 1927.

  • Alef-Alef (A Auerbach) -- Malakh's drame fun argentiner yidishn lebn, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 11 Nov 1927.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- L. malakh's "ibergus," Morning Journal, N.Y., 9 Dec. 1927.

  • Y. Shames -- malakh's ibergus, oyfgefirt in nyu-york, "Prese," Buenos Aires, 9 Dec. 1927.

  • L.S. Biely -- Di naye piese fun irving plays teater, "Yidishe tageblatt," N.Y., 11 Dec. 1927.

  • Mefisto -- "Hertser tsu farkoyfn" (Ibergus) geshpilt mit der bateylugung fun rudolf un berta zaslavsky, "Naye lebn," Bialystok, 27 Feb. 1928

  • Sh.G. (Glazerman) -- "Hertser tsu farkoyfn" premiere in teater ekselsior, "Yidishe tsaytung," Buenos Aires, 13 May 1928.

  • Dr. Moshe Lustig -- Zaslavasky's ensemble, ferkoyfte hertser fun l. malakh, "Der morgn," Lemberg, 7 July 1928.

  • X -- "Hertser tsu farkoyften," "Unzer ekspres," Warsaw, 19 Nov 8, 19.

  • Y.M. Nayman -- Teater-notitsen, "Haynt," Warsaw, 20 November 1928.

  • B. Shefner -- Got fun nekome on sholem asch, "Naye folkstseytung," Warsaw, 21 Nov. 1928

  • A gn -- "Hertser tsu farkoyfn" (fun l. malakh in skala), "Der moment," Warsaw, 2 De. 1928.

  • Elkhanan Zeitlin -- "Hertser tsu farkoyfn," "Teater tsaytung," Warsaw, 5, 1928.

  • D. Lasky -- L. malakh "hertser tsu farkoyfn," oyfgefirt in teater, "Skala," rezhi zaslavsky, "Oyfgang," Warsaw, N' 5, 1928.

  • M. E-M -- Fun yudishn teater, "Nayer foksblat," Lodz, 27, Dec. 1928.

  • Aaron Kanievsky -- An ongevetante shtik lebn fun di yidn in south amerika, "Der tog," Philadelphia," 2 Nov. 1929.

  • Y.H Radoshitsky -- Ringn fun der keyt, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 26 January 1930.

  • Jacob Parnes -- Ver iz der grinder funm yidishn teater in brazil?, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 24 April 1930.

  • Y. Rabinovitsh -- "Der geler shotn," Keneder adler,' Montreal, 3 Nov 1930.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Di yidishe literatur in argentine, "Tsukunft," N.Y., Aug. 1931.

  • Elkhanan Zeitlin --- Dos bukh, vos ch'hob okorsht ibergeleyent, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, 29, 1932.

  • Dr. Kh. Gold -- Un nokh tsvey dorot yidishe shreyber in argentine, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, 6, 1933.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Dos yidishe teater in argentine, dort.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1333.

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