Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Mordechai Segalesko


Born in 186... in Iasi, Romania. Father -- a tailor, who became during the Russian-Turkey war, a peddler, and takes his son to help him carry his bundles. S. however had no desire to to take on the profession of his father, and worked in an inn as a servant. Possessing a voice, S. remained together a year later boys and arranged with them a "concerts", for which he began after a short time to draw an income. The "concerts" were spread to theatre productions across the province, in which there also participated the future actors Yekhiel Berkovitsh, Rosa Axelrad and Meir-Wolf Schwartz.

In 1881-2 Horowitz acted in Iasi with this troupe, and after several actors (Aba Schoengold as "Yozef Sharf", Itsikl Goldenberg as "Morris Sharf" and the author of "Dr. Edvish") his time-piece "Tisa Eslar", and then his translation of Rasin's "Eslihu", in which S. excelled as the "falsher frister matan".

Since then S. became a professional actor and toured across the greater province. After the ban on Yiddish theatre in Russia, where Mogulesko, Feiman and Kessler began to act across the province, S. had to be content with the smaller Romanian towns, and at first when these actors went to America, S. became the factual bel-hbit across the Yiddish theatre in Romania. From 1886 until around 1919, S., earlier with Tsukerman and then together with his wife Amalia, directed Yiddish troupes in Romania.


During that span of time, S. -- according to H. Feinstein -- also was in Warsaw with a Hungarian band, in which he performed together with his daughter.

S. used to, from time to time, find employment with cantors, and he used to especially give himself (?) to the end of the nineties.

According to Itzhak Libresko, S. deliberately called himself Segalesko (instead of Segal), in order to identify himself with Mogulesko, who he used to copy.

Berta Kalich characterized him as such:

"He was a star of those stars, who had more success with their "shtel (stand)", than with their talent. He had a modern appearance. He had a large head, but with not much of a neck,... He didn't which to carry a collar, and therefore he always went around with a loose shirt. He was fat and had difficulty breathing, always hoarse and with a large, broad laugh. He never walked, but was crippled. He never wore different shoes, besides what easy-to-wear boots. In Bucharest, they loved him. He was what was called a "beynkel" comic. He used to laugh or cry, and he especially took off with his Romanian "doynis", which he didn't sing any artists(?), such as Tsukerman, but he was a successful actor. The theatre in Bucharest which had little relevance at the time, when the second main actor didn't, Tsukerman and Segalesko, who had too much promise in drink(?). As a cantor he was as great as all the actors, as proficient as all of them, and he became the most proficient".

1919-20 -- S. acted in his son's (Chaim-Meir) troupe, and in the town of Turgeniamts he became sick, and in January 1920 he passed away in Bucharest.

S.'s children: Chaim Meir and Albert were Yiddish actors; Ernestine -- in Romanian variety.

M. E. from Itsikl Goldenberg, Itzhak Libresko, H. Feinstein, A. Ostroff and Yefim Zlotagorov.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of the Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 146, 148.

  • Berta Kalich [memoirs] -- "Der tog", N. Y., 6 June, 11 July 1925.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1511.

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