Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Moshe Sabsey


S. was born in 18... in Kherson, Ukraine. His father was a sexton. S.'s name was Moshe. In order to avoid military service, he also took his younger brother's name David.

S. began as a cellar singer.

R. Granovsky wrote in his memoir:

"Spivakovski had also es handlt zikh about I.I. Linetsky that each time he was invited into a wine cellar and sang "Kumt, vet or zen vi yidishe talantn vern farloyrn." In wine cellars there came out a company of dancers, to perform and sing with tsugetshepete beards, with side locks, and they sang and danced. Afterwards they went around with a plate in order to compile money. Spivakovski had tears in the eyes, and laid down five rubles on the plate. Among the singers and comics there was the late well-known artist Sabsey..."

In 1880 S. entered into Naftali Goldfaden's troupe and after the ban on Yiddish theatre, he again became a cellar singer. Later he performed with various Yiddish troupes, and in 1886 he was, due to a denunciation, he was arrested in the troupe of Yekutiel Margoles. He then wandered across Galicia, where he acted under the direction of Herman Vaynberg, often in bards and aksnyut.

By himself he was an intelligent and handsome man, he later had with his wife and brother-in-law, the actor Aaron Lager, founded their own itinerant troupe across Russia, which was very popular.

In 1904 he issued in Odessa "D. M. Sabsey, songs and couplets, published and property of the bookstore brothers Bletnitsky in Odessa". In the inside book cover, it is given, "Lider gezikhte n kupleten." The book contains thirty-three songs, including a song instead of an introduction about the performing of the songs for the public.

In 1907-08  S. was director in Dvinsk and most of thee time he used to travel across Lebanon [Lifland] and Courland. In 1908-09 he played under the direction of Nakhum Lipovski and -- according to Lipovsky -- they had few people, which he used to speak to on the stage.

Still S. also later directed with troupes, in which there were raised many of the later prominent actors.

Thus writes Avraham Teitelbaum: "The amusing production of the Sabsey-Lager season in 1910 on the Odessa stage, 'Time of the Messiah,' which held a large number of productions, together with the newest 'American hits.'" And further: " play Goldfaden, Sam Adler, Sabsey and the other theatre directors on their old shteygerishn naive-serious, theatrical way..."

In the years 1920-21, during the civil war in Russia -- S. settled in Kremenchug (Ukraine), where with his wife, were hired for the troupe of M. Volkenstein. There S. used to give repertoire and costumes and distributed once costumes on a balcony, when the balcony suddenly broke, and S. fell over, breaking his spine. After several days of lying in a hospital, he passed away (1921?) in Kremenchug.

His wife passed away in the same city two years later.

M.E. from Menaha Boodkin, Nakhum Lipovski, Jacob Katzman, Bina Abramowitz, A.G. Kompaneyets, and Sh.E. from Mark Leiptziker.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1432.

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