Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Isaac Swerdlow
(Sverdlov, Swerdloff, Sverdloff)


Born in Odessa, Ukraine. His parents were not well-to-do. He studied in a cheder and then graduated from a local state school. When he was ten years old he played children’s roles in a Russian troupe. When he was thirteen, he was already a member in an amateur club run and directed by actor David Fachler, and at the age of fifteen he was an extra in Peretz Hirshbein’s troupe at the Odessa Philharmonic.

In 1911 S. was engaged by Korik in his professional troupe. Here he acted for a while, and then he moved into Mishurat’s troupe where he acted until the end of 1913, when he joined the Kaniewski-Kharlamp troupe.

In 1915 he played in Bolgarov’s theatre in Odessa with Clara Young (Directors Zaslavsky and Liebert), then he served in the army and was captured by the Austrians in the summer of 1916.

In 1917 S. was sent to Lemberg, appearing in Gimpel’s troupe until the Russian Revolution broke out. He returned to Russia and appeared in Albert Segalesco’s troupe in Odessa.

In 1919 S. toured across Russia with a cooperative troupe where he played for four months with Mark Meyerson. In 1920 he played in Odessa’s “Kunst-vinkel (Art Corner)”, and then toured the province with a group of actors (among them Albert Segalesco) until 1923.

In 1923 S. joined the first Yiddish comedy theatre in Odessa, playing in a character role (Manager: Adolf Segal). However, the theatre existed for only a short time, and thus in November 1923 S. traveled to America where H. Weissman engaged  him to perform in Winnipeg, Canada.

S. remained in Canada and played in various troupes until 1929. From 1929-30 S. was engaged by the "Tsheyn" troupe, directed by Moshe Schorr  to play in America. From 1930-31 he played with Kessler in London (at the Pavilion Theatre); from 1931-2 he played with Boris Auerbach in Montreal, Canada. In 1932-33 he played at the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York (Director-- Maurice Schwartz).

Sh. E






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Translated from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1459.

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