Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Joseph Schwartzberg


Sh. was born in March 1889 in Lipno, Poland.

His grandfather was a local rabbi. His father is a Hebrew writer who was the first to issue Peretz's "Hkhutz" (1894).

In 191 he came to America to his father who had earlier settled in New York, where he was a book dealer and issued the journal "Nr hmerbi". Sh. learned in Baltimore, only for a huge tsugebundnket to his father, he changed his learning and shortly thereafter returned to New York.

Disregarding his offspring, his father, a freygezonener, often attended the Yiddish theatre. During a visit on a Shabbat afternoon to a production of the play "Rachel and Leah", he placed Sh. with a landsfroy (countrywoman), the actress Diana Feinman, and from then on Sh. became a daytime attendee and patron of the Yiddish theatre.

Meantime his father became a collector for the "Jewish Herald," which stopped him from becoming very occupied, and Sh. became a little hfkrdik, and in 1905 he was introduced to an amateur group, within which he found the later-famous actor Maurice Schwartz and it is among them that there developed an intimate friendship


Pulled from his family, Sh. often came away hungry, until the actor Largman took him out of the amateur group, and in 1907 Sh. became a professional prompter.

Sh. also wrote several plays, such as "Idishe kinder, a lebensbild ("life image") in four acts, music by Brody," staged on 25 December 1913 in Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre by David Kessler, in which he acted in the role of "Chaim Lipovski." The same play was also named "Chaim, zise heym," which was at the same time performed in the Odeon Theatre with Regina Prager, music by Sholom Secunda. On 20 August 1915 in the National Roof Garden there was staged Sh.'s play "Dos meydl fun der ist seyd", music by Perlmutter and Wohl, and on 10 February 1922 in the Lipzin Theatre was staged with Jennie Valier Sh.'s four-act play "Gekoyfte libe", which on 15 December 1922 was staged by Julius Adler in the Liberty Theatre with music by Peretz Sandler.

Since Maurice Schwartz created the Yiddish Art Theatre, Sh. was the prompter in this theatre and wholly often, during a revival of an earlier-performed play, they staged [plays] according to Schwartz's direction.

Sh. also traveled to Argentina during the guest appearance of Maurice Schwartz, and tried to settle down there. However, he returned to New York, where he passed away on 2 July 1939.

M. E.

  • B. Gorin -- History of Yiddish Theatre, Vol. II, pp. 276, 282.

  • Maurice Schwartz -- Maurice Schwartz dertseylt, "Forward", L. A., 26 February, 3 March 1941.

  • Sh. Niger -- "I. L. Peretz", Buenos Aires, 1952, pp. 247-48.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2942.

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