Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Janet Paskewitz


Born on 11 January 1894 in Iasi, Romania. Her father was a baker. Her family moved quickly over to Bucharest, where P. completed a primary school.

As an eight-year-old young girl, she, through her uncle, the actor Motel Goldring, became excited about the local Yiddish theatre ("Zhignitsa", direction by Itsikl Goldenberg), and acted in children's roles until age fifteen, then until eighteen in roles for adolescents.

In 1912 she was through Joseph Kessler engaged for London, to act with him for two seasons, and then she went over to the Pavilion Theatre (where she Morris Moshkovitsh had acted), until she became in 1920 engaged to Maurice Schwartz for his Irving Place Theatre. She arrived in America in mid-season, and she acted meanwhile in Philadelphia's "American Theatre" (director Maurice Schwartz), became a member in the Yiddish Actors Union and acted for two seasons across the province, then in the "Liberty", "Lenox", "Hopkinson", "McKinley Square", "Irving Place" (with Berta Kalich).

In 1929 she became engaged as a chief dramatist in Littman's "People's Theatre" in Detroit, then she acted for five years in the "Project Theatre" ("W. P. A."), which the American government had founded for artists in the time of crisis. Here she performed (in the role of "Etele") in Boris Thomashefsky's production of Gordin's "Der Yidisher kenig lir" in Yiddish and English, in Thomashefsky's production of "Uptown and Downtown", and in Yehuda Bleich's production of Sinclair Lewis' dramatized novel "Do kon es nit geshen (It Can't Happen Here)".


P. also participated as "Etele" in Thomashefsky's Yiddish film production of Gordin's "Yidisher kenig lir (Jewish King Lear)", and as "Freydenyu" in Jacob Mestel's production of Gordin's "Got, mensh un tayvel (God, Man and Devil)" on the radio.

When the "project" was dissolved (in 1939), P. entered into the "Bronx Art Theatre", acting then with Samuel Goldenburg in the "National Theatre", and since 1942 again in the "Bronx Art Theatre".

P.'s sister, Malvina, and Malvina's daughter, Rukhe'le, are Yiddish actresses.

M. E.

  • Kritikus [Morris Meyer] -- Madam pashkevitsh's "medea", "Di tseyt", London, 15 January 1920.

  • Morris Meyer -- "Idish teater in london", London [1943], p. 318.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 1647.

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