Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Joseph Opatoshu
(Yosef Opatovski)


O. was born on 1 January 1887 in Mlawa, Plotsk Gubernia, Poland. His father was a lumber merchant (the family lead yikhus for the [tusfut] holiday, a Jew, a scholar, one of the first meschilim in Poland, he wrote songs in Hebrew. From age ten to twelve he attended the trade folkshul in Mlawa, learning with his father. At age fourteen he entered into a trade school in Warsaw. At the end of 1905 he went away to Paris, then went to the politechnium in Nancy, but after several months he returned to Mlawa. He began to write, and he became acquainted with Peretz.

In March 1907 he immigrated to America, where he worked for several weeks in a factory, carrying [fanander] English newspapers, and he became a Hebrew teacher, completing in 1914 his studies as a civil engineer, occupied, however for only a short time with a profession and he dedicated himself to literature.

In "Tsukunft" in 1920 he published programs for a drama "Beym toytn bet", in "Tsukunft", March 1922 he published a one-acter "In salon", and when in 1922 A. visited Poland, he collaborated with the material for a three-act drama "Heynt blut", which was staged on 25 October 1922 in the Central Theatre in Warsaw (Director: Zigmund Turkow).

In the same hear through "amateurs" there was staged in Poland a dramatization of A.'s "Roman fun a ferd-gnb".

 In December 1928 he was in Warsaw through the society "Forbert-film" under the direction of Jonas Turkow, who produced a film from A.'s novel "Di poylishe velder" with the participation of  Yiddish and well-known Polish actors. The same novel was dramatized by Jacob Vaksman and staged in 1928 in Lublin.

M. E.

  • Zalmen Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I, pp. 145-51.

  • A. Lerman -- Opatoshu "Polishe velder", oyf'n ekran, "Nf"tst", Warsaw, 16 January 1929.

  • Zisha Katz -- A sensatsye tsvishen di khsidim in poylen tsulib a moving  piktur. "Forward", 12 April 1929.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 81.

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