Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Greta Meyer


M. was born circa 1886 in Dessau, Anhalt, Germany, into a Christian family. Her father was a German actor, who learned in school in Berlin and Vienna. Already at the age of fourteen she participated in student theatre in Berlin, then in the Lessing Theatre (Berlin), guest-starring in Germany, Austria and Holland and with a German trope across America and at the end in the German Irving Place Theatre in New York.

During the disintegration of the German theatre, M. had, with the actor M. B. Samuilov, learned Yiddish and entered into Schwartz's Yiddish Art Theatre, debuting on 4 June 1920 in the Garden Theatre as "Debeka vest" in Ibsen's "Rosmersholm", and she also remained (not stable), then about a season with Weintraub in Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre and the went over to the 14th Street Theatre (with Thomashefsky), performing in the play "Hatikvah" by Shomer, and as "Pesenyu" in Gordin's "God, Man and Devil".

In 1921 M. was taken in as a member of the Yiddish Actors Union, and she had for a short time acted in the Metropolitan Theatre in Philadelphia (with Joseph Kessler).

Later she guest-starred across the Yiddish theatres of the American province, and not having several years of a stable engagements, she opened a German cabaret, later a restaurant. In 1931-32 she returned to the stage and participated in the English offering of David Belasco's "Tuneyd or never", and later in the motion picture "Grand Hotel" by Vikie Boym.

On the Yiddish stage M. performed as 'Etil" in Gordin's "Kreutzer Sonata", "Mede" by Grilpartser-Gordin and she participated in the plays "Ellis Island" by Isidore Lillian, "Mrs. Warren's Profession' by Bernard Shaw, "Zeyn eyntsiker edut" by Z. Libin, "Public Opinion" by Max Gabel, "Veybsteyvl" by Karl Shenher (with Jacob Ben-Ami and Maurice Schwartz), and "Farbrekher un zeyn tokhter", also as "Portia" in "Shylock" with Rudolph Schildkraut.

M. -- according to Jacob Mestel -- was a popular force in the Yiddish theatre. She spoke In her Yiddish speak there was felt only a slight German [accent], and she also used to sing and declaim Yiddish songs.

M. E.

M. E. from M. B. Samuilov and Jacob Mestel.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Vegn kristn oyf der yidisher bine, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 32, 1931.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Kleyne notitsn vegn yidishn teater, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 42, 1933.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1298.

Copyright   Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.