Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Reitz (Reitzen)


R. was born on 31 October 1885 in Kremenchug, Poltava Gubernia, Ukraine. His parents became rich. He learned in a cheder, Talmud Torah and in a city school. He sang in the great shul as an "alto" with Cantor Avramele Horenstein.

In a Rosh Chodesh Sabbath (1898), Avraham Fiszon took him away from the school as a chorus singer. R. soon began to come to sing solos. So as the director did not pay the lease, and as R. geyt oys for hunger, his father sent him money and finally brought him home, but R. could already no longer pull himself away from the Yiddish theatre, and when Kompaneyets came to the city with his troupe, R. joined them there. He rab away from home and traveled with the troupe to Yekaterinoslav, where he soon began to act in roles. From there he went over to Bernstein's troupe in Kremenchug. Here Druker Smolnik took up the stage, who had acted since then under the name of Brandesko and bshet-hdhk they both went through the cities with Yiddish-Russian concerts.

R. acted then in the troupes of Mishurat, Sabsey, Genfer, Kaminski, Sam Adler and Spivakovsky.

At the end of 1905 he went to London, where he acted for ten months in M. D. Waxman's troupe and traveled with Morris Axelrad. Herr and Frau Marienhof and Frau Kornfeld went to Buenos Aires to Gutentag's troupe. From Argentina R. went back


to Paris to the Waxmans. In 1909 R. came to America, and in the same year entered into the Yiddish Actors Union and toured with various troupes across the United States and Canada. Then he traveled with Reuben Finkelstein to Australia, where he acted for several years in Yiddish theatre, dertseyendik there a Yiddish theatre public.

Later he came back to America and acted since 1926 he has been in Detroit with Littman. Here R. became sick from the flu and one time during a production, on 25 December 1928, he passed away. His dead corpse was brought to New York for burial on the grounds of the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance.

R.'s wife, Berta Finkelstein, for a long time acted on the Yiddish and English stage.

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3047.

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