Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Solomon (Shlomo) Rotshteyn


Born on 20 July 1869 in Galatz, Moldava. Shortly after that his parents transferred to Bucharest, Romania. In the Jewish quarter Koleo Vakareshti [sp], next door to the family of the artist Moshe Stein, who learned the profession in Vienna. R. completed a folks-shul, began to learn in a middle school. However, due to a need for income, he is a young man learning a craft. He looks good, already painting original wallpaper for French dwellings, and was worth his learning. R. studied German with Stein's children, loved the daughter Ellen and married her, and like his daughter, life became difficult as a painter.

According to Julian Schwartz, R. in his eighties, painted in the Zhignitsa Theatre the sets for "Rayze um di erde (Travel Around the Earth)," adapted and localized by Avraham Goldfaden (?), according to Jules Verne. On the poster of the theatre it said that "People will see an elephant and [hirshn natur-groys], as well as decor (decorations) painted with the taste of the painter Solomon Rotshteyn, the first [stsenograf] of (Yiddish) theatre in Romania," the first who was indicated on a poster. The press of his time wrote about "the artistic sets and costumes Rotshteyn [created] for Goldfaden's "Tkhies-hame'y (Resurrection)," and for the play "Der novi un dovid alra (The Prophet and David Alra?)," "Dovids fidele (David's Violin)" by Joseph Latayner, "Shlomo hamelekh (Solomon the King)," et al.


Julian Schwartz writes:

"The artist Solomon Rotshteyn is passionately in love in the stage, in the actors. He works day and night for pay, which does not even bother to provide. In order not to stifle the outcome, he helps out with sign painting. In the summertime he works with certain stonemasons and painted monasteries in the surrounding area of Bucharest. In the 'Zignitsa' he painted artistic decorations, tailored theatre costumes and helped prepare the stage for the premieres, put together the theatre programs, on the title page of several programs, submitting 'resumes' by Sh. Rotshteyn.' Solomon Roshteyn in the Zignitsa Theatre is a mentsh to everyone.

...Although Solomon Rotshteyn has a golden hand. If he does not earn enough to ensure a full year of living for the household, he must paint the cloisters. A mediocre painter, but a typical entrepreneur of building or renovating monasteries, A certain [staneskn] takes Solomon over to every partner, and R. sleeps in a cloister. Passing peasants ask him: 'Do you sleep in a cloister at night?' 'Yes -- answers Solomon Rotshteyn -- 'What do you see? Are you afraid? 'For whom should I have fear? 'For the saints are in cloisters.' "I make them anyway' -- answers Solomon Rotshteyn.

...As a theatre decorator and [stsenograf-proyektant], he became deeply renowned. His mock-ups of a rural theater were on display at the grand exhibition of 1906 in Bucharest. Here also was a curtain painted for that theatre in Moldava. In the year of 1930 he was found in Bicaz. For decades he painted decorations and designed costumes for various theatre ensembles. Besides the Yiddish theatre, [he did this] also for the Romanian operetta troupe of Grigorin, for the ensembles in the theatre hall 'Datshia.' It says about the testimony in the archive of the theatre posters from the Yiddish theatre and the archive of the documentation section of the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, and naturally the state archives.

In our authority there is a canvas 40/50 on which it is painted Yitskhok-Moshe (Moritz) Lieblich, the proprietor of the theatre hall, and the 'Zhignitsa' garden of Bucharest, and below on the left side, the portrait of the painter alone, from Rotshteyn. This picture, as are all of his works, is not signed, but his children of Bucharest immediately recognized it and remembered when their father painted it, deep into the nineties of the last century."

R. passed away on 3 July 1931 in Constanta, Romania.

R. was a brother-in-law of the scholar Lazar Sheyneanu.

  • Julian Schwartz -- Der ershter stsenograf funem yidishn teater in rumenye, "Folks-shtime," Warsaw, 12 February 1966.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6260.

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