Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Sonia Nadolsky
(Sarah Katz)

Born 1 September 1867 in Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine. Her grandfather and father were ritual slaughters. Orphaned at an early age, she grew up educated by her grandparents, but she was also influenced by her uncle Moshe Luterman, Rabbi of Kazion.

She felt an urge for the theatre since she was a child and arranged various games for children, for which her audience had to pay in buttons.

At the age of thirteen she arrived at her aunt’s in Odessa and saw a play for the first time--at the Yiddish theatre. The actors were Mogulesko and Abba Shoengold. She became so enthusiastic that she gladly accepted her friend's invitation to participate in an amateur production for the Red Cross of “Not Pooh! Not Booh! Not Cock-a-Doodle-Doo”.

She incidentally met actor Hersch Liansky of Goldfaden’s troupe and through him joined the troupe and toured with them in Russia.

In Tiraspol she became acquainted with actor Leon Nadolsky whom she married, and she changed her surname to his. She joined Shomer’s troupe, then Israel Gradner’s. 

After the banning of Yiddish theatres in Russia, Nadolsky appeared in Austria with Juvelier, then in London, and in 1890 arrived in America.


In America she appeared with Kessler, Adler, Moskovitch, Kalich, Mogulesko and Tornberg in Gordin’s repertoire, where she was the first to embody the characters: “Shifra” in “The Wild Man”, "Esther Ruchel” in “Shloimke sharlatan”, “Dobe” [?] in “God, Man and Devil”, "Feige Rivtche" in “The Oath”, "Tcherne" in “Sappho”,” "Beile” in “Kreutzer Sonata”, and “Sara Hinde” in “The Unknown”, then in Pinski’s, Hirshbein’s, Kobrin’s, Libin’s, Asch’s and Richter’s plays in these theatres: Poole's, Windsor, Thalia, Kessler’s on Second Avenue, the Yiddish Art Theatre, and then again in the Second Avenue Theatre. From 1931-32 she played in German’s Public Theatre [German’s Folks Theatre].

On 13 January 1932 at the German’s Folks Theatre her golden wedding anniversary was celebrated and Nadolsky appeared in Gordin’s “Kreutzer Sonata”.

Nadolsky’s daughter, Bella Nadel, also plays on the Yiddish stage.

Sh. E.

M. Osherowitz0- “David Kessler and Muni Weisenfreund”, 1930, pp. 61, 28-30.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1387.

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