Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Hersh Dovid Nomberg


Born on 4 April 1876 in Amshinov, Warsaw region, Poland, into a Chasidic-nigidisher family. His father was Moshe-Mordechai (a great grandchild of the Prague rabbi, the author of "Bit meir," and the grandson of the Lodz rabbi, R' Yekhezkel Nomberg), a great learner, an "epicurus," who passed away young in Meran, and N. was raised by the grandfather of his mother's tsd, Eyzenberg, in shtreng-khasid shn geysht.

Until age eighteen he learned, excelling as privileged and bki. Later, already after his marriage, N. under the influence of Hebrew literature, admitted with self-dedication (Russian, Polish, German)Forced for his "epicurus" zikh tsu gtn with his wife, he, with the assistance of a circle of Warsaw's student socialists, came to Warsaw in 1897, where for the first time he was employed as a teacher in a Hebrew school, and as a house administrator. On the advice of Peretz, he began to write in Yiddish and debuted in Yiddish literature in 1900 with a song in "Yud," and a little later in Hebrew literature with stories in Frishman's "Hador." Since 1905 he was a publicist and editorial member in the Hebrew newspaper, "Hatsufah," then collaborated in "Der veg," spending one-and-a-half years abroad.

In 1907 he lived in Vilna, where he published his voyshe shriftshtelerishe works in various periodical editions, and in Hebrew in "Hazman." In 1908 he participated in the Yiddish-language conference in Czernowitz, was the author of the Czernowitz language resolution, and since then he was connected to the new Yiddish cultural movement, one of the founders in eskhim of Yiddishism and folkism. He went over

for "the friend" to Warsaw, and there he became a constant editorial collaborator.

In 1912 he went over to the "Haynt." In wartime he edited "Dos varshaver togblat," was at the same time on the folk list, chairman of the Yiddish literature and journalism union in Warsaw, was active in the Yiddish school movement, twice visited America (at the end of 1911, and at the beginning of 1926), for a long time spent time in 1923 in Argentina, visited Israel in 1924, and in 1926 went to the Soviet Union and very often stayed in the main cities of Western Europe.

Since 1918 he was a constant contributor to the "Moment," and he also participated in various Yiddish periodic editions in Europe, Argentina and America.

Through his songs, stories, feuilletons, publicity articles, essays, pure portrayals and critiques, the papers of which many were collected and issued, especially booklets, G. had devoured a prominent position in modern Yiddish literature, standing in the series of the post-Peretz pleiade.

N. had a close relationship to Yiddish theatre. Very often he used to write reviews (also under the pseudonym "N-Y"), and he also translated Hauptmann's "Henshl Furman." Regarding this, Dr. Mukdoni relates in his memoirs... "When the 'United [Troupe]' organized and had organized and began to assemble a repertoire, H.D. Nomberg read his translation for them. The 'United' listened and resumed, explaining that they had such a Yiddish play  by J. Gordin, which was called "The Oath" (a passage from 'Henshl Furman'), and therefore it was not done, ...however, all of us noticed that the original is a hard nut for Yiddish actors. Peretz and even Nomberg soon realized this, and they were also in agreement that "The Oath" is more appropriate.

In 1910 the translation was published in print: "Gerhart Hauptmann, Henshl Furman. Yiddish by H.D. Nomberg. Published in Warsaw by the B. Shimin publishing house [16, 94 pp.], which at first was put on by the Lodz "Dramatic Arts" [group], which was under the direction of Mark Armnstein, and in 1919 by the "Vilna Troupe," under the direction of Dr. M. Weichert.

In 1909 N. published in Warsaw, "Theatre World" (N' 5, 6, 7, 10-11), its final translation of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" (only the first act, and the second act until the fifth scene, was published.)

In January 1910 the "Literary Society" arranged symposia at the "Philharmonia," with lectures by Dr. Mukdoni, A. Weiter, Y.L. Peretz and N., who spoke on the theme, "From Goldfaden to Latayner." Dr. Mukdoni writes about N.'s lecture: "He mentioned that the Yiddish theatre was was descended from the underworld, that the patrons and peddlers of the Yiddish theatre were Yankel Shapshovich and Stram [sp] Farbrecher. The large audience had discovered this with horror and dread. This came like a lightning bolt across the entire city, and the offering was feared."

This attack against the Yiddish theatre at that time evoked a counter-attack by the Yiddish actors (first by the United Troupe), who had made the accusation that the Yiddish playwright wanted to impose the playing of their plays, and in this also have them exploited. N's message to perform his translation of "Henshl Furman." Later, consequently, there was also an attack by David Frishman in his feuilletons in "Haynt." Dr. Mukdoni writes about it: "Nomberg was characterized as a genius. From that polemic came his trefndike characteristic of Nomberg, as "MHIA-TITA?" man." It was a ... piece in this characteristic (see "David Frishman's writings," V. 3, pp. 52-4). ...In a series of articles, written by Nomberg, A. Litvak and from us, We have avoided his attacks. We used the same method with which he used. We also did not spoil the matter. (end pg. 1406) We had ongegrifn as a writer."

Also N. was a member of the "Yiddish Theatre Society," which was founded in Warsaw in 1911.

According to Avrom Reisen, an act of N.'s play, "The Family," initially was published in his journal, "The Literary World," in 1913 the entire play (H.D. Nomberg--The Family, play in four acts), published in Vilna's "The Yiddish World," January-April 1913, and in 1914 there was issued a special book in Vilna, by the publishing house of B. Kletskin (16, 74 pp.). The same play also was published in 1927 in Berlin's "Klal Publishing House" (24, 136 pp.), and in 1919 it was performed (with Lazer Zelazo as "Gedalya Finkelgreen.") In the troupe of the Vilna Yiddish Theatre Society, then became entered into the repertoire of the "Vilna Troupe." In America the play was performed around 1914, under the direction of Mark Israel (Dr. Israel Marcus), through the "Literature and Arts Union" in Chicago in June 1928 the play was staged in Buenos Aires (Argentina) by the guest-starring Avrom Morevsky.

On 25 April 1921 the play in the Hebrew translation of Mordecai Rudenski was staged under the direction of Mark Schweid in New York's "New Yiddish Theatre" by the "Habima Hebrew [Troupe]" (director Nechamia Lin.) In the production there also participated the professional Yiddish actors Menasha Skulnik ("Gedalya Finkelgreen"), Mark Schweid ("Nechamus"), and Liza Varon ("Devorah.")

In 1915, during the founding of "The Artistic Corner" in Warsaw, N. especially became interested with the group of young actors, who used to perform with lectures on productions and used to even accompany guest stars across the province.

Appearing as a guest in Argentina, found himself in the middle of a struggle between the actors and the theatre directors due to the organization of an artistic union. The actor Aaron Lager portrayed N.'s attitude towards this:

"The greatest contributor of the organization was H.D. Nomberg, who at that time was in Argentina as a guest. He had with full fire enthralled in the movement and promoted the actors, who had organized, looking for both bread and at the human conditions on the younger higer Yiddish stage. Thanks to his intervention, many societies contributed their moralistic support."

According to the actor Jonas Turkow, N. had proposed that he play his translation of George Keizer's play, "From Morning to Midnight" (in N.'s book, "The Book of Feuilletons," publisher Sh. Yatshkovski, Warsaw, 1924, with a special article about the dramaturge George Keizer.)

On 21 November 1927 N. passed away in Otwock, and on 23 November 1927 he came to his eternal rest in Warsaw.

After N.'s passing, his son began to publish all of N.'s work, also it was worth adding a special volume of N.'s theatre articles.

M.E. by Jonas Turkow and Sh.E by Kalmon Malmor.

  • Z. Reisen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. 2, pp. 523-33.

  • D.B. Malkin -- H.D. Nomberg, "Bicher-velt," Warsaw, N' 9, 1928.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Nombergs "mishpokha" in a. morevski's offering, "Prese," Buenos Aires, 5 June 1928.

  • Shmuel Rozshanski -- Morevski's offering fun "di mishpokhe," "Yid. tsayt," Buenos Aires, 6 June 1928.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Zikhroynes fun a yidishn teater-kritiker, "Archive," Vilna, 1930, pp. 360, 375-378, 398.

  • Avraham Reisen -- Milkhome yoren, "Tsukunft," N.Y., January 1930.

  • Aaron Lager -- Di ershte bavegung far der profesyaneler organizirung fun der yidisher bine in buenos-aires, "Di yidishe tsaytung," Buenos Aires, 5 January 1931.

  • Y. Rapoport -- Gerardt hoyptmann, "Vokhnshrift," Warsaw, N' 45, 1932.

  • Dr. M. Weichert -- Tsvey redes vegn h.d. nomberg, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, N' 52, 1932.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1405.

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