Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Edward (Yekutiel) Margolis


Born about 1850 in Tiraspol, Ukraine. His father was a merchant who used to purchase from the copper content of the shot up military cigarette cases from the military. He learned in a gymnasium in Odessa, then studied as a dentist, and from there went away to Romania, where he wandered around with gypsy troupes, then he joined in a Yiddish theatre and played with Mogulesco (a scene by M., together with Mogulesco and Aba Shoengold in his role in one of the first offerings of Yiddish theatre in Russia in Shomer's play, "Der diskontist," published in the "Forward" from 19 April 1929.) Later M. went over to the troupes of Tanentsop, Juvelier, Samuel Ferkauf, Giltman, Treitler, and then again played in Odessa and in Romania.

Around 1886 in Czernowitz by himself he directed a troupe, which contained both Max and Bina Abramowitz, Nakhum-Feivl (Philip) Weisenfreund et al.

According to Boris Thomashefsky, at the end of the eightieth year of the nineteenth century, M. came with a European repertoire and played in his provincial troupes and soon returned to Europe.

According to Y. Riminik, in the "Theatre Book," on the basis of the documents in the archives of the Odessa governor, interesting details about the effort of M., apparently as a Turkish subject, to arrive in 1897 in Russia and play here in "German" theatre.

The Odessa governor had answered the Odessa police department:

 "In connection with his letter of 12 August (1897), number 3892, this is the request of the Turkish subject -- the Jew Edward Margolis -- seeking a license for him to come and arrange in various cities, as well in Odessa, a series of productions in German of Jewish life. I have told you my opinion about this, according to what I had justified beforehand. I would first of all refrain from expressing my request for a copy. The director of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, according to whom the police department on 17 August 1883, in the Director of the Central Office for Press Affairs of 19 February 1891, number 927, has in conclusion banned the giving of the theatre production Yiddish speech, it must be said that by giving productions of Jewish life in German, the actors pass easily during the German play in Yiddish, often entirely with a Someone and sometimes unconscious, too, already because of the characters themselves, because of the familiarity and the closeness between the German language and the Yiddish -- a thing that the local administration can in no way understand. For this reason, I never allowed any performances in German of Jewish life in Odessa because of the confusion of the circulars mentioned above. Who still thinks of the isolation and hidden hatred among the existing strata of the Jewish Christian population in the city at the present time, would give productions of Jewish life. It could easily lead to unpleasant misunderstandings and ambiguities among the residents. Every misunderstanding that resists the message of isolation and non-abandonment one another here in Odessa, immediately turns to death, in an open danger to the social order.

In connection with this in mind, that both the director and the actors were foreign nationals and didn't have the right to live in the Russian Empire, as such, would not fit under the categories that were not listed in the articles 289 and 290 of the Ostav, about the residents (?XIV....1890), I think, that the request from the Turkish enterprise -- the Jew Margolis -- any place regarding Odessa should not be satisfied."

Understanding this, that thanks to this "recommendation," M. did not receive any permission to come to Russia. M. then continued to play in Galicia, from where in 1899, when Horowitz had brought from Galicia a troupe to America (Isidor Giltman, Kalmen Juvelier, Goldie Shapiro, Samuel Rosenstein et al.), again arrived in America as members of the troupe, and joined the Windsor Theatre in character roles, Later he went over to the Thalis, and in the Grand Theatre, and also played in the Yiddish vaudeville houses.

In Ameria M. had the opportunity to play with Adler, Kessler, Lipzin, Kalich and Thomashefsky, In the last years he was a stage director of Brooklyn's "Lyric" Theatre.

M. was the founder of Barondess' Lodz "Vayse mayn."

On 4 March 1915 he passed away in New York and came to his eternal rest at Washington Cemetery.

M. had excelled in Chasidic roles ("Sholem Shadkhan" in Goldfaden's "Kuni Lemel"). Also he played well "Jupin?" in the operetta "Der tsigayner baron (The Gypsy Baron?)," which he played in his own translation, and the "Count" in "Pericolo."

M.'s first wife was the actress Rokhl Kohut, later the wife of Avraham Axelrod. M.'s son, Izzy Hersh, from his wife Rosa, is an art painter, the daughter Annette--an English actress who also played in Yiddish with Leon Blank in Pittsburgh, and the son, Sam, who was a journalist.

M.E. from his wife Rosa Margoles, Peter Graf, Samuel Ferkauf and Boris Thomashefsky
S.E. from Emilie Adler.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. 2, p. 147.

  • Y. Riminik -- Redifes ofn yidisher teater in rusland in di 80-er un 90-er yorn, "Teater-bukh," Kiev, 1927, pp. 92-93.

  • M. Osherovitch -- Bine abramovitsh dertselt vi azoy zi iz aribergekumen keyn amerike, "Forward," N.Y., 19 Oct. 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1243.

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