Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Moshe Surits


Born on 23 August 1888 in Dvinsk, Lettland (Latvia), to pious parents -- small industrialist. Father -- used to in his youth participate in "The Sale of Joseph plays", so that there was created a fund for a new sefer torah. He learned in a cheder and yeshiva, then completed six classes in the Dvinsk Hebrew school of "Mfitsi Haskalah".

From childhood on he manifested a desire for the theatre and participated in the children's productions of the school. Besides this, he used to in an earlier time "act" in private dwellings with children "Captain Dreyfus", and other "plays" for a groshn or a kopek a ticket.

1903 -- sang in a chorus during an "amateur" offering of Goldfaden's "Di kishufmakherin", and not versatile he left the role, bought from a friend a role(?), and as such, exhausted, he acted afterwards constantly for five years in roles in the dramatic circle. In 1908 he was -- without the knowledge of his family -- engaged as a professional actor to Zhitomir in a troupe, where he debuted on 24 July 1908 in Polotsk, and remained there to act for a year. 1910 -- he acted with Sabsey and Bernstein. At the end of 1910 -- was taken in to military service in October (Turkestan), where he found himself in a Russian military dramatic circle of most of the time professional actors under the direction of actor Aleksandrov, and S. entered into the circle, where he acted two or three times a week in the span of the three years that he served in the military.


1913 -- arrived in Riga and here acted on a cooperative basis in a Yiddish troupe under the auspices of Lazer Bernstein and Zhitkovsky. During the start of the World War, he became mobilized and served in Vilna's nurse's evaluation station, by which he found himself in a Russian troupe under the direction of the actor Shmilov, which moved about and behind the front in order to act. 1916 -- toured with a similar troupe on the Riga front.

1917 -- freed from military service, he returned to Riga, and there together with an actor founded a Yiddish dramatic circle that had performed until 1919.

1919-20 -- acted in the dramatic troupe of L. Sokolov in Lithuania, 1921-5 -- in Riga, province and Estonia, 1927 -- entered into the Yiddish Meutim Theatre in Riga (manager -- Eliyahu Stein and Shlomo Kutner), and since then has continued to act in Yiddish theatre in Riga.

S. also has participated as the "father" in Mark Arnstein's "Dos eybike lid" in a film from the company "Mintus".

Sh. E.

  • B. N. -- Benefit fun y. yulin un m. surits. "Potash un perlmutter" in nayem yidishn teater, "Frimorgn", Riga, 30 March 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1460.

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