Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leib Schaus

Born on 20 October 1915 in Gorzh, Lite (Lithuania). Nephew of the historian Chaim Schaus. In 1932 he completed the Vilkomir Yiddish State School. In 1934 he began to collaborate in the Kovno Yiddish newspaper, "Dos vort (The Word)" as a translator and reporter. In 1938-39 he was editor of the leftist-radical daily newspaper: "Avent-blat (Evening Page)," and in 1940 for the "Folksblat." From 1940 until 1952 he was vice-director for the Litvak news agency. During the last years he edited and issued technical literature. During the war years, he published articles in Lithuanian and Russian.

When the Nazis failed to take Russia, S. with his wife were found in the Caucasus. In 1942 in Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan). From 1943 until 1944 in Moscow. Since August 1944 he lived and worked in Vilna.

On 13 June 1967 in the hall of the Culture Palace, from the professional union in Vilna there came the premiere of S.'s play, "Zog nit keymol, a d..geyst dem letsn veg," dedicated to the uprising in the Vilna ghetto with its two central figures: Itzik Wittenberg and Sonia Meysker (in the play, "Sonia.")

According to Ber Halpern, about the contents of the play, he remarks:

"The Wittenberg tragedy had given the author outstanding dramatic material, but in the play the central figure was not Wittenberg, but Sonya, the personification of the unbeaten conspiracy and comprised struggle, after Wittenberg's destruction


she organized the transition of the ghetto partisans to the base camps in the forest, in the play it fell into battle when the last group was released by di kanalizatsye-rern [?].

The collective of the folks theatre almost had for themselves for the first time a modern play of that genre, which for him was a serious examination, and it should be said that the exam survived. Very impressed by the performance of Zina Sharfstein in the role of Sonia. The complimentary role of Itsik Wittenberg was played by Hirsh Sharfstein very impressively. Success came to Leib in the role of staff member Aaron. The audience also took to Yudl Katz in the role of Professor Hellman. Impressive also was the scene Sonia Gorelnik (teacher Chana). Motl Kanovitsh was successful playing the episodic semi-symbolic role of the old person. Considerable also was R. Suntop (Miriam), F. Gordon and others. In the difficult role of the ghetto representative Yekl Sneg (his true name was Gens), S. Sigalov performed. he created a personage for a historic Judenrat.

Nazsh of a Judenrat a historian. The success of the spectacle was, in a jealous measure, due to the stage director Leonid Lurie."

According to Halpern, it was that among the attendees of the production, there was found a large group of prominent partisans from the dissolved Vilna party committee during the Nazi Occupation. At the beginning of the spectacle, they had, based on Shostakovich's true music, in short words, tells about the destruction  of the five-hundred communities in Vilna, and speaking about the resistance movement in the ghetto, the names of the fallen ghetto heroes was shown.

During the last years S. was very ill, later paralyzed, and in the uprising he wrote the aforementioned play.

On 28 December 1967 S. passed away in Vilna.

Sh.E. from Rabbi Emus Schaus.

  • Ber Halpern -- Oyfrurerndige drame vegn heldishn geto-komandir itzik vitenberg in vilner yidish milkhome-theater, "Morgn frayhayt," N.Y., 1 August.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5285.

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