Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Samuel Tobias
(Shmuel Tabatshnikov; Tabachnikoff)


T. was born in 1861 in Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine. As a youth he was a choir boy and was counted as an education person.

B. Gorin wrote in his "History of the Yiddish Theatre": "...and in Poltava that he [Leizer Tsukerman] went to Tabatshnikov, who sang with a cantor and in an Italian opera. In the opera he was a chorister, and he was entrusted with small roles [?]. Tsukerman went away with him to Kharkov, where he went into Goldfaden's troupe. ...also Tabatshnikov immediately went into lover roles, which until now Zilberman has acted."

T. wandered for several years across Russia, Poland, Rumania, London and Paris, and in 1886 performed in Lemberg with Gimpel. B. Gorin wrote: "From his entire [body of work] [in Gimpel's troupe], Tabatshnikov then became an important actor, who took Lemberg by storm."

Bertha Kalich's story about him in her memoirs was that the public was accustomed to T.'s [mmsh trogn oyf di hent: taking on the hands?].

T. Went with several actors to America. Here T. debuted on 19 August 1892 at the Union Theatre as "Absalom".

M. Osherowitz characterized him as such:
"His roles were singing roles and as a singer he found success. And because he was well-known on his own, that in addition


 his power on the stage consists of the eykrsht in them, that he has a beautiful voice, he has kept strongly to Avraham Goldfaden and from his operettas. For plays, in which one doesn't sing, Tabatshnikov isn't considered, and when the so-called Jacob Gordin epoch began in America's Yiddish theatre, Tabatshnikov for the first time felt a bit lost. Abroad he realized that his entire heybt on were gradually disappearing. He had also, however, adapted to the new epoch. In Jacob Gordin's "King Lear", he acted in the role of "Yafe" and afterwards he already performed in other plays by Jacob Gordin and became a great onhenger singer...

"...In life he was a retiring person; he always spoke quietly and kept as such for he feared he might hinder his star, always closed, always involved in himself, he loved to speak about the past, about the former years."

In Gordin's plays T. was the first to embody the following roles: "Yafe" in "The Yiddish King Lear" (1892), "Alkhasnador" in "Der vilder mensh (The Wild Man)" (1893), "Yankl" in "[Di] litvishe brider lurie (The Lurie Brothers from Lithuania)" (1894), "Donye" in "Mirele efros" (1898), "Louis Karshunski" in "Der unbekanter (The Stranger)" (1905), and "Samuel Melkin" (Shmuel Zaverukhe) in "Oyf di berg" (1907).

Since 1925 T., because of illness, has almost stopped acting. In 1926-27 he was at the Irving Place Art Theatre with Ben Ami.

T., who in America adopted the name Tobias, and was one of the cofounders of the Yiddish Actor's Union.

On 28 June 1930 T. passed away in New York and was brought to his eternal rest at Mt. Hebron (Cemetery).

TR.'s wife, Ettie, also acts on the Yiddish stage. T's second son also acts on the English stage.

  • B. Gorin -- "Di Geshikhte fun idishn teater (History of the Yiddish Theatre)", Vol. I, pp. 224-25; Vol. II, pp. 126, 143, 150-51.

  • M. Osherowitz -- Geshtorben samuel tobias, eyner fun di gor erste idishe aktyoren, "Forward", 1 July 1930.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 802.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.