Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Max Marienhof


Born in 186... in Sitava, Courland, into a merchant family. At the age of sixteen he began to act with "amateurs" in Yiddish theatre in Sitava.

1890 -- immigrated to London, where he acted with an "amateur" group in Mentmeyker club., and there he also became familiar with the "amateur" Anna Zeitlin, with whom he married in 1895, went on to perform in a club and took to exporting footwear from England to Australia under the pseudonym "Magnes et Comp.". When the business went bad, he traveled to South Africa where he began to act in Yiddish theatre in Keptan, and when Moshe Dovid Vaksman organized a troupe for Johannesburg, M. went over to this troupe.

1905 -- M. went back to London, where he acted under difficult conditions in music halls. 1907 -- he traveled to Argentina, where he became one of the active builders of the Yiddish theatre there.

M. began to act in Buenos Aires in the former Yiddish theatre in Chacabuco. 1909 -- Fannie Vadya Epstein and Zygmunt Feinman came to Argentina, and M. fought for them a theatre in Piedras. Here M. by himself was an impresario and brought from Europe the actors Berta an Karl Gutentag and Sam Blum, who began to act in the Kamika Theatre (now -- Select Lavendzha), and soon brought over the troupe n the Garibaldi Theatre, which after a period of  time became the home of Yiddish theatre.


Around 1911-12 -- M. brought in the actors Bina Abramowitz, Morris Moshkowitz and Kalmen Juvelier, also received the guest-starring Samuel Goldenburg and for children's roles Berta Zingerman.

1915 -- M. was an entrepreneur for the Olympia Theatre, together with Aaron Lager. 1916 -- he directed with the Bataglia Theatre (now -- Gran Splendid), 1917 -- he visited Brazil, and in 1918 he returned to Argentina, where he brought to the Olympia Theatre the actor Jacob Silbert.

1921 -- he visited North America and acted in the local province. 1923 -- he returned to Argentina, where he became the entrepreneur for Mark Arnstein's tour across the Argentinean province.

B. Gorin relates about M.:

""Gutentag [the actor] had been reported to be unable to deal with business, and they had [to Buenos Aires] brought over from London Marienhof to put the theatre onto a solid foundation  The latter was a good businessman, but he could not open up much because Gutentag had disturbed him, and in the end it was that Marienhof who had by himself taken over the Olympia Theatre, and Gutentag with his wife and a part of the company (troupe) went over to the Garibaldi Hall. With this Gutentag  took over against his competition: the main and only dramatic actress in Buenos Aires was Gutentag's wife. But Marienhof had rivaled him: he began to import actors, and in this fashion brought over Zygmunt Feinman, Dina Feinman, Morris Moshkowitz, Jacob Silbert, M. D. Vaksman, S. Goldenburg, Juvelier and his wife (Bina) Abramowitz's. He had not brought over the attractions all  together, only individually or porveyz, in a span of several years. The struggle among the two directors had not lasted long, and they made peace."

In 1924 the Excelsior Theatre (with kurta iberreysungen) was forced by M. into a Yiddish theatre. 1925 -- M. was business manager of the local theatre, wherein he brought in the actors Boris Thomashefsky, Morris and Minnie Akselrad, and then Joseph Schoengold.

In 1926 he completely stopped acting, was only employed as an administrator, and in the latter years of his life, he completely retired, although he also continued weaving plans for new Yiddish theatre activities.

According to the writer necrology in the "Idishe tsaytung", M. "passed through" all of the theatres. There was everywhere the important person, who always brought new initiatives, competed with other activities and was pursued. ...he never was a capitalist, and then was the most enterprising by him....been created."

It was also said when M. returned from North America to Argentina, and his first performance of "Amerike ganef" [in the Garibaldi Theatre] never had a large audience, and he went to his partner and decided to say:

--I also can not be a partner because if the public is to me not coming after a year's time has gone by, it is a sign that the public was not from me(?)...

On 16 October 1928, M. passed away in Buenos Aires.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 198-200.

  • [--] -- Maks marienhof geshtorbn, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 17 October 1928.

  • [--] -- Maks marienhof a shtik geshikhte fun idishen teater in argentine, "Idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 23 October 1928.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1256.

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