Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Chaim-(Moshe-Yoel) Margoles-Davidzon

He was born on 14 January 1891 in Warsaw, Poland. His father was a soap maker. He studied in Hebrew schools, state folks schools, and with private tutors. After this he tried out several trades until he became a sign painter.

In his autobiographical book, "A Visitor in This World," he describes his life as a statistician in the Maranow Yiddish Theatre in Warsaw, and later as a director and actor in an amateur group. He also wrote about a play that he wrote and directed.

In 1912 he left to serve in the Russian army. During the First World War he was on the Turkish front. After the revolution in Russia he lived in Tiflis (1917). In 1921 he came to America to join his parents. In 1922 he became a member of the Communist Party and in the "Proletpen," and since the founding of the "Yiddish Morning Freedom/Morgn frayhayt" he openly wrote his memoirs and worked in left-wing periodicals.

Among his several works we find his "Locked Lines" (1935), "We Live in Such Times" (1939), "Byteshland (Whipland") (1939), "I Came Out Alive" (Three Volumes--1941, 1942, 1944), "Here's How a Carpenter Saws" (1946), the translation of "The Great Conspiracy" by Michael Sawyers and Albert Kahan, "A Guest in This World" (1949), and "Curtain" (1947). The following were presented separately as one act-plays: "A Role," "The Chain," "A Wife, An Efficient Housekeeper," "A Guest in the Shtetl," "Poetry and Prose," "Charity," "In the Spider's Web," and "After the Fall." The second series is comprised of his speeches, and the third from his monologues.


In his book, "The Curtain," M. starts with an essay in which he explains why he uses Yiddish phonetics and spells the Hebrew words with the so-called "Yiddish spelling." An essay, in an enlarged format, was also published in his book, "A Guest in This World."

M. Was infirmed in a Bronx hospital, where he passed away on 2 March 1960.

Sh. Almazoff singularly presents him in "The Difficult Life of M."

"If there ever was a person whose life was a long chain of fearful suffering, it was this recently deceased man. If there ever was a person who battled with his life with all of his strength, not paying attention to all his suffering and who was master of his domain, it was Margoles-Davidzon. And if a writer had wherever and whenever proceeded with his work under conditions that could kill every opportunity for creative and inventive devotion, Chaim Margoles-Davidzon was that writer. He never looked at life from his unreal, gloomy suffering. Despite all the effort, and despite the hardest conditions, he was altogether productive and created works of the most important kinds.

In the exact blooming of his life thirty years ago, this now deceased person through a difficult illness, lost a foot. He made do with a false prosthetic. He discovered a special attachment for his car in order to keep on driving. Much like his earlier days, he continued to travel all over wherever his talent took him.

...And the sad day finally arrived when his other foot was operated on. They took off his toes, and his foot became useless. He was confined to his bed, but he was determined to continue his work as a writer. ...(He) arranged for a special apparatus made of a board on his bed. This board was able to move back and forth.

And the writer set up for himself a special typewriter, which a factory, according to his described plan produced. The typewriter was larger than the normal size. It possessed self-correcting sized letters in order to make a variety of spaces between words of larger or smaller sizes. This was especially necessary in order to print long lines of regular size on a printed page.

Margoles-Davidzon used to prepare the texts of his works on this typewriter in such a manner that every page that he typed upon it, would be exactly the same as it would appear on a book page to be photographed and be print-ready.

  • "Lexicon of the New Yiddish Literature," New York, 1963, Volume 5, pp. 483-484.

  • Chaim Margoles-Davidzon -- "Tsu gast bay der velt," New York, 1948.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5364.

Translation courtesy of Paul Azaroff.

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