Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shimele der Heyzeriker

One of the last "Broder Singers" (see "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre," pp. 216-235).

Sani Shapiro, who brought him to Bucharest in the eighteenth century, portrays him this way:

"All who have became famous today, had during that time suffered greatly, and not once had they not had a supper [evening meal], whether or not it was a time to eat. Whomever said that they used to leave, they did not have to return. Interesting how I had gotten the last Broder Singer (one of the last), I mean the Shimele. It doesn't matter that I haven't his picture, because then it was good that they had to eat and take pictures was a thing of pleasure, and that pleasure was unpopular to please oneself.

It was that teahouse, and I found Shimele. His figure was small. He alone doesn't know if he is about one-hundred.

He held his stiff hat like Charlie Chaplain. He simply could not speak. His hands and the other abris had spoken. He was hoarse. It gave me a painful heartache. I said: 'Shimele, You know who shows me where to go, and you will not have to do anything, and whatever I will earn, I will give you half.' He was dressed naked and dirty with a filthy hammer with wild nails. I didn't know how the people lived, but his spirit and lived. He didn't know how to speak. He accepted my request and went with me. In the middle of the night it was not so cheerful, only Saturday night and Sunday I gained, I went with him to a sweat-bath and bought him underwear and cheap panties, but he didn't want any hat, but a stiff hat. I asked him where he was born, and he told me in Lemberg. This is correctly the last singer of Velvl Zbarzher's group."

At the age when he could no longer sing due to his hoarseness, he used to "speak" very hoarsely.

S. passed way in Bucharest, where Yiddish actors erected a gravestone.

Sh. E. from Sani Shapiro.

  • "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre," N.Y., 1931, Vol. 1, p. 235.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5158.

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