Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Morris Vaksman
(Moshe Dovid)


Born on 25 July 1874 in Lodz, Poland. His father was cantor for twenty-five years in the Blashker synagogue in London, his grandfather was R' Yakov Vaksman -- a rabbi in Blashke, and a brother -- a magid (preacher).

He learned with a Kovel rabbi in Lodz, together with the late actor Samuel Tornberg and Itzhak Zandberg.

In the home, the former Yiddish actors used to come together, and his older brother , Hersh Yosef, who used to be an "amateur" and with Broder Singers acted in the Sale of Joseph, and V., together with other youths began to participate in the amateur productions from Goldfaden's plays.

In 1889 he went with his family to London, and there he and his sister Fanny entered into the chorus of a Yiddish theatre, where he also came to act in small roles.

When the theatre closed due to a denunciation, and the prominent forces of the troupe went away, W. became the youngest amateur in the newly found troupe, acting in various parts of the city of London, then he went to Paris and Antwerp, and [then] returned to London.

In 1896 Max Rosenthal guest-starred in London and W. was


invited to America, where he entered into the Thalia Theatre and the troupe of Kessler, Feinman, Mogulesko, Kalich et al. At the end of the season W. became engaged by Glickman for Chicago, where he acted for three years, and he became regisseur of the troupe. Then with Adler in the People's Theatre in New York, later in Philadelphia with his own troupe, then he guest-starred in London, and from there he went with his troupe to South Africa, where he also acted with an English troupe. In 1906 W. further opened the Pavilion Theatre in London, and is a co-founder of the action society to found a Yiddish art theatre that four years later, after the death of Zygmunt Feinman, opened a Yiddish art theatre in the name of the deceased.

In 1913 W. acted for seven months with his own troupe in Argentina, again in London (directed with Moshkovitsh), and in the same year with Zandberg in Lodz, in Odessa and Iasi, Romania, and again in Lodz, where he became, after Zandberg's death, the factotum patron of the Grand Theatre. Later both Yiddish troupes united in Lodz into two special theatres under the direction of Julius Adler, Herman Serotsky, M. D. Vaksman and Julia Zandberg In 1918, W. became in a short time an independent director of Lodz's Grand Theatre, later for the Colisseum Theatre, then in the Thalia Theatre. In 1920 W. guest-starred in Paris in his sister Fanny's troupe, in London's Pavilion Theatre, and toured with a small troupe to Antwerp, then he acted again in London, where he staged in English the play "Der glh un der yid". Later W went to America, where he organized the tour of Schwartz's Art Theatre for London, and he traveled back to America, where he acted for several months in Chicago and Toronto. Later W. organized a troupe with whom he acted across the province in plays in English with Jewish content.

Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of the Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 152, 198, 199.

  • M. Myodovnik -- Meyne teater zikhroynes, "Der shtern", Journal, Minsk, 2-3, 1926.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 660.

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