Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leiser (Louis) Mitnick


Born in 1866 in Kovno, Lithuania. Father -- a cantor. At the age of eight he traveled with his mother to family in London, where he may later have participation in Adler's troupe in the Princes Club, then M. immigrated to America and settled in Boston, where besides acting, he also was the manager of a troupe.

In March 1896 Isidore Zolotarevsky brought M. to Montreal to guest-star as "Absalom" in Goldfaden's "Shulamis", and after this production, and after his performance as "Bar Kochba", M. became encouraged to remain in Montreal, and there founded a permanent Yiddish theatre, presenting two productions a month, which he maintained until the coming time(?). Began in the Monument National Theatre, where in the troupe one also found Clara Herman (later -- Young), then M. went over to a theatre on Lagauchetiere, between St. Dominic and Maine, where an entire season of Yiddish theatre was performed, by various troupes in Auditorium Hall, and then made the Monument National Theatre into the permanent home of Yiddish theatre in Montreal.

Under M.'s direction, Montreal had the opportunity to see for the first time the best plays, performed by the best actors of that time: Adler and wife, Thomashefsky and wife, Kessler, Mogulesko, Tornberg, Lipzin, Esther Rukhl Kaminska.

1913 -- M. brought to Montreal her first stable troupe (Nathan and Rose Goldberg, Isidore Meltzer, Louis Bokshitsky, Meir Honigman, Louis Goldstein, et al.), and which for five weeks continuously guest-starred Rudolf Schildkraut.


For a certain time, also under M.'s management, there stood a Yiddish troupe in a barracks on Cathcart Street.

On 29 October 1915 M. passed away in Montreal from a heart illness, and he came to his gravesite at the cemetery of the Hebrew Sick Benefit Association. The procession was the largest that until then came from Jewish Montreal.

"As to his virtues -- written in his necrology in his "Keneder Odler" -- had heard that, he had no fear to say all the truth in his eyes. This brought him numerous enemies, who had later found out that he is an honest character, and they used to return good vern. M. possessed a strong enterprising spirit. He used to, from time to time by himself, performed in operettas, most of the time in Goldfaden's. He loved the Yiddish theatre very much and had a was deeply joyous when he was a force that brought to Montreal better troupes, or put on productions of the better plays".

Soon after M.'s death, the manager of the theatre was turned over to his son Ike.

M. E. from Ike Mitnick and Boaz Young.

  • [--] -- Mitniks kariere als pioner fun idishen theater in kenede, "Keneder odler", Montreal, 1 November 1915.

  • A. Teatral -- Dos idishe teater-vezen in montreal, "Keneder odler", Jubilee edition.






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 1292.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.