Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Vilna Troupe

At a time when Vilna was occupied by the German army in the First World War, a small circle of amateurs, lovers of Yiddish theatre, (which had been outlawed by the Russians), decided to form in Vilna a permanent Yiddish Drama Theatre. To this end, several members of this circle, L. Shuster (Kadison), who in earlier days had been an active member and director of the Kovno Yiddish dramatic organization, and Yakov Sherman, a member of a Yiddish dramatic organization in Lwow, and A. Orliuk (Asro), called together a small gathering of literary types, friends of the Yiddish stage, who were immediately convinced to actualize these plans. By the way, at first the authorities created many difficulties (due to requests by competing theatrical groups to be granted permission for a Yiddish theatre under the pre-existing rules). Finally, thanks to several members of the Jewish self-help committee, (especially Dr. Jacob


Wigodski and Dr. Olshvanger), they received permission to perform on the stage. This permission was granted under the leadership of a professional actor, Matisyahu Kowalsky.

In Vilna at that time there were, in addition to Kowalsky, no other professional Yiddish actors. The new troupe, therefore, was established by "amateurs" -- women: Sonia Alomis, Frieda Blumenthal, R. Rifkin-Rivkina, P. Kalen; The men were: L. Kadison, Al. Orliuk (Asro), Sholom Tanin, Noah Nachbush, Sh. Schneyer, A. Lehrer, Y. Sherman (aka Hamaccabee), and by actresses from the Russian stage: Yehudis Lares, and Polia Walter. The only actor from the Yiddish stage was Matisyahu Kowalsky. Later, an actor from the Russian theatre, Eliyahu Shteyn, and the "amateur" Ella Marion joined the troupe. (Hamaccabee, A. Shteyn, Marion, Rivkin-Rivkina and B. Kalin, later for left the troupe various reasons.)

The group organized themselves on a cooperative basis: Every member received a specific amount of "marks." The leadership of the theatre lay in the hands of a so-called "Leytnder Organ (People’s Organ)," whose make-up was constantly undergoing changes. The "People’s Organ" was chosen from a general gathering of all the members of the troupe. In the beginning Kowalsky, Kadison, Schneyer and Asro were selected. The newly established group was given a name by the business executive of the troupe, M. Mazo. That name was; "The Union of the Yiddish Dramatic Artists in Vilna Under the Leadership of M. Kowalsky." The first play which the troupe presented was given on Friday, 18 February 1916 in the building of the "Circus Theatre" on Lukishkes. The play was Sholem Asch’s comedy "Der landsman (The Countryman)" (Directed by -- L. Kadison).

First Poster of the Vilna Troupe

Both the Jewish and the German press eagerly mentioned the presentation and immediately gave its support to this theatre.

For the second play they presented Peretz Hirshbein’s "A farvorfn vinkl (A Lost Nook)" (Directed by L. Kadison). After that, over the course of the winter season 1916, they presented; H.D. Nomberg’s "Mishpokhe (Family)," Sholem Asch’s "Got fun nekome (God of Vengeance)," David Pinski’s "Yankl der shmid (Yankl the Blacksmith)," Mark Arnshteyn’s "Der vilner balabaysl (The Vilna Landlord)," Sholem Asch’s "Yikhus (Family Lineage)," David Pinski’s "Di muter (The Mother)," and M. Rivesman’s comedy, "Di glikn (Good Fortune)" (All of the above were directed by L. Kadison.) The troupe also organized a Purim evening at which they performed the one-act comedies and farces; "Der toyes (The Mistake)" (Kadison’s reworking of Bell’s "Hercules"), "Di shmeterling" (The Butterfly)" by N. L., and "Di ershte patsienten (The First Patients)" by M. Rivesman.

It was at this time that Ben-Tzion Kit and Shmuel Sheftel joined the troupe.

During the first season (1916) the troupe played in the Circus building on Lukishkes Street. Performances were held early on Friday, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening and Sunday evening. However, the troupe rented the Circus building at no cost (in order to avoid requisitioning the building from the military). They only had to pay for heating. The building expenses were none the less higher than the income, so that at the end of winter they were only playing on Saturday evenings (except for some plays in the middle of the week that were sold to charitable societies).

Due to a shrinking circle of theatre-goers, they often had to change their repertoire. This interfered with the actors being able to express sincerely deep portrayals in each of the presentations. They also had a shortage of three-act plays, and they had to present shorter ones such as: Sholem Asch’s "Mit'n shtrom (With the Current)," Pinski’s "Di gliks fargesene (The Forgotten Joy)," Mirbeau’s "Der ganev (The Thief)," Arnshteyn’s "Dos eybike lied (The Eternal Song)," Manushevitch’s musical piece "Di rakhe yerushe (The Rich Inheritance)," and several presentations for children: A dramatization of Sholem Aleichem’s "Gimnasiya (High School)," and Peretz’s "A din toyre mitn vind (A Religious Judgment With the Wind)" (all the directions were by L. Kadison). This lack of material nearly brought the troupe to a crisis.

Looking for financial rescue, on 26 May 1916 they presented Gordon’s "Got, mentsh un tayvl (God, Man and Devil)," (directed by L. Kadison). By the way, the financial problem did not improve with these performances. The troupe, during the course of that summer of 1916, received a guaranteed amount of money from a private person. The money was assured, so long as they continuously performed Gordon’s "Der umbakante (The Unknown)," Di shvue (The Oath)," "Kreutzer sonata," (with Mrs. Yehudis Sherman), and "Khasye di yesoyme (Hasia the Orphan)" (all of these were directed by L. Kadison).

Later they played several one acters "Teodolinde" by Y.B. Shvaytser, "Der damenshnayder (The Ladies' Tailor)" by G.L., a dramatization of "Der khoyle misukan (The Dangerously Ill Person)" by Z. Wendroff, Dymow's "Der eybiker vanderer (The Eternal Wanderer)," and "Shma Yisroel (Hear O Israel)," and Ludwig Fuldow’s comedy "Yunge froynde (Young Female Friends)," also called "Shul khaverim (School Friends)," (translated by Kadison, Mazo and Asro. All directed by L,. Kadison).

The season ended in the Circus building with the troupe presenting Leon Kobrin’s drama "Yankl Boyle" (directed by L. Kadison). It was presented under the name, "Der dorf’s yung (The Village Youth)," and was a great success.

At this time the German authorities began to pay serious attention to the troupe. They gave them the State Theatre, where they began to perform on 10 November 1916. A week later they presented Peretz Hirshbein’s "Di puste kretshme (The Idle Inn), and after that Chirikov’s "Di yidn (The Jews)," Kadison’s translation of Kristiansen’s comedy "Dolly," and Henry Nathanson’s drama "Hinter moyeren (Behind the Walls)," and several one-acters (all directed by L. Kadison). They also performed Semen Yushkevich’s "Miserere" (directors: Asro and Kadison), who had their own following and were highly praised in the German press.

On 24 February 1917 they celebrated the first anniversary of the troupe. This was prepared with a line-up of Vilna cultural institutions, which held a reception in honor of the troupe. They played Sholem Aleichem’s "Mentshn (People)," Schnitzler’s "A frimorgen nokh anatol’s chasene (A Morning After Anatol’s Wedding)," and Peretz’s monologue, "Der mishugener batlan (The Crazy Lazybones)."

Meanwhile the troupe had become very popular throughout the region, and invitations started to arrive for them to stage guest appearances. They particularly requested an interpretation of Sholem Asch’s "The Heirs" (Directed by L. Kadison), Artsibashev's "Eyferzukht (Jealousy)" (Directed by A. Shteyn), and Sudermann’s "A Battle of the Butterflies" (translated by M. Mazo, directed by L, Kadison). In May 1917 the troupe traveled to the provinces and staged a series of plays in Kovno, Grodno and Bialystok with great success.

In the larger towns, they encountered Jewish officers and officials who were patriots of the German and Austrian army. These Jewish army officers supported the troupe in every respect. They also had high regard for Jewish/German artists and typesetters such as the artist Herman Struck, the poet Arnold Zweig et al. The troupe wrote inspired articles about this reception that appeared in the German newspapers in Germany. The German type setter Herbert Eilenberg wrote an article in the German newspaper "The Positcher." This lengthy article praised the troupe and its illustrator Baylageh. He created a newspaper item with an array of pictures of the actors with an article written by Hans Gassler, in which he placed the troupe at the same level as the best European theatrical groups. Thanks to this, the members of the troupe were liberated from the need to perform forced labor in the German-occupied domain, as was the practice at that time.

These recognitions and the warm reception from the Yiddish intelligentsia in the provinces for the guest appearances (Sukkos 1917) in the Elysium Theatre in Warsaw (due to a warm recommendation from Ester Rokhl Kaminska, who had seen the troupe when they were traveling throughout the provinces).

The troupe, at a proposal from H.D. Nomberg, was now established as the "Vilna Troupe." The Warsaw Yiddish press praised the troupe enthusiastically. They played their old repertoire in Warsaw, at which time the actress Leah Naomi appeared with the troupe and remained with them permanently. Here the director David Herman also joined the troupe permanently. Immediately he presented Peretz Hirshbein’s "Di neveyle (The Carcass)."

From Warsaw the troupe went to Lodz where it performed with great success. On this occasion they issued a special brochure collection entitled "Di vilner in lodz" (Lodz, March 1918), which included reprints of reviews by the press and articles written especially for this collection. After guest appearances in various cities throughout Poland, the troupe went on vacation to Kazimierz (in Krakow), where Norwid Shidlow, a novice actor joined them along with Bella Bellarina, Miriam Weide, and Miriam Shick. After several performances in Lublin the troupe returned to Lodz where they played Tolstoy’s "Di makht fun finsternish (The Power of Darkness)" (Directed by L. Kadison), and Andreyev’s "Di teg fun unzer lebn (The Days of Our Lives)" (Directed by Asro and L. Kadison).

Meanwhile the German revolution broke out, and the German army started to evacuate the occupied towns. Due to fear of being cut off from Vilna, and also due to a difference of opinion the troupe, Asro and Alomis returned to Vilna, where they founded the Yiddish State Theatre. The "Vilna Troupe" once again went to Warsaw, where they were joined by the actors Miriam Orleska, Aichen (Dembsky) and Jacob Gertler. A. Eisenberg, in the Kaminski Theatre, presented Hauptmann’s "Henshl Furman" (translated by H.D. Nomberg, directed by Dr. M. Weichert). Here the troupe was joined by the Russian Yiddish actor Leonid Snegoff, who performed in Strindberg’s "Der foter (The Father)," Surguchev’s "Herbst fidlen (The Fiddles of Autumn)" (Translated by L. Kadison), Chekhov’s "Uncle Vanya," and Gorky’s "Oyfn upgrund (The Lower Depths)" translated by M. Mazo and L. Kadison). After this, the Russian Yiddish actress, Esther Orzhevskaya, also appeared in several plays. Both left the troupe shortly thereafter.

Now the troupe became a cooperative in the Elysium Theatre under the direction of David Herman, where they presented Hirshbein’s "Der tkies khaf (The Vow)," (in which there also appeared the newcomer Hertz Grossbard in Schnitzler’s "Libele (The Dragonfly)." After this they presented, under the direction of L. Kadison, Waiter’s "Der shtumer (The Mute)," Yushkevich’s "In shtot (In Town)" (translated by Kadison), Max Dryer’s "Vinter shlof (Winter Sleep)" (translated by L. Kadison), and F. Bimko's "Ganevim (Thieves)," in which the newly arrived Clara Segalowitch took part.

Asro and his troupe (Asro, Alomis, Abraham Teitelbaum, Samuel Cohen, Joseph Buloff, Ch. Sherman, [Yehudis] et al, played in Vilna till April 1919, when the Polish army occupied the city.

At the end of 1919 a Yiddish theatrical organization was founded in Vilna. This group created a troupe headed by Alomis, Rosie Birnbaum, Asro, Leiser Zelazo, and several other local "amateurs." After several months they staged (under the direction of M. Elkin): "Di vant (The Wall)" by Z. Segalowitch, A. Waiter’s "In fayer (In Fire)," and "An umglik (A Tragedy)" under Asro’s direction. They also staged performances for children: Oscar Wilde’s "Der gliklekher prints (The Happy Prince)," Moliere’s "George Dandin," and Nomberg’s "Di mishpokhe (The Family)."

In the summer of 1920 the Vilna Theatre organization asked David Herman to be their director. The actors from the "Vilna Troupe" were: Schneyer, Norvid, Shidlow and Gertner. However, due to the Bolshevik invasion, they could not stage any new plays. Schneyer, Zelazo and Birnbaum returned to Warsaw, and the remaining two persons (Norvid and Gertner) rejoined the "Vilna Troupe." After escaping the Bolshevik army, they moved to Moscow. Asro and Alomis went to Kovno where they played for a short time, and from there they traveled to Berlin where they founded the "Yiddish kintsler teater (The Jewish Art Theatre)."

The theatrical organization in Vilna closed up. David Herman returned to Warsaw’s "Vilna Troupe," and right after him these actors followed: Abraham Morevski, A. Shteyn, Chava Braz, Joseph Buloff, Joseph Kamien, and the "amateur" Jacob Weislitz. The troupe now presented Dymow's "Shma Yisroel (Hear O Israel), Andreyev’s "Der vos krigt di petsh (He Who Gets Slapped) (translated by A. Morevski), "Dos naye geto (The New Ghetto)" by Dr. Herzl, and Yokhanan’s fayeren (Yochanan’s Passion) by Herman Sudermann (translated by Zalmen Zylbercweig (all the plays were directed by A. Morevski).

After thirty days of mourning, following the death of Sh. Anski (9 December 1920), they staged his play "Der Dybbuk (The Dybbuk)" (directed by David Herman). This presentation was an outstanding success. The play was performed one hundred times with full houses. Many Polish intellectuals came to see the performance, as well as attendance from the Orthodox Jewish community. Some newly engaged actors appeared In this presentation: A. (Avraham) Slobodsky, and the amateur Yitskhok Kovner (Kadison).

On 27 March 1921 the troupe staged Sholem Asch’s "Amnon and Tamar" and "Der zindiker (The Sinner)" (directed by M. Elkin). On 14 April 1921 the troupe organized a group reading with musical accompaniment of Z. Segalovitch’s "Di vant (The Wall)." On 29 November 1921 they staged Anski/Kaczyne’s "Tog un nakht (Day and Night)" (directed by L. Kadison).
On 3 February1922 L. Kadison staged Sholem Aleichem’s comedy, "Shver tzu zayn a yid (It’s Hard to be a Jew)," and on 23 February 1922 they presented Gutzkow’s "Uriel Acosta" (translated and directed by Avraham Morevski). Later they also staged Leivik’s "Shmates (Rags)" (Directed by L. Kadison), Yitskhok Katzenelson’s "Karikatorn (Caricatures)" (directed by A. Shteyn). They started to prepare a presentation of Peretz’s "By nakht oyfn altn mark (Night at the Old Marketplace)" (reworked by Dr. Yitskhok Shipper). While all this was happening, the troupe traveled to Lodz and other nearby towns in Poland for some guest appearances. They returned to Warsaw and here they appeared in Kaminski’s theatre. Then they continued on for a tour of Galicia. Then they went on to Vienna. Here they performed for six months in the Rolland Theatre and once more traveled to Galicia for some more guest appearances. A number of the members of the troupe joined Asro, while the rest traveled on to Romania.

The organization that Asro founded in Berlin (including Herman Strock, Dr. S. Groneman, Hans Goslar, Arnold Zweig etc.) joined several other directors and actors; Henry Gallen and Jean Gotopt. They rented a theatre on Commandatten Street in Berlin. Here they exerted made a effort preparing a new troupe for Asro. Invited to join this troupe were: David Herman, Schneyer, Zelazo, Rosie Birnbaum (all of whom had left the "Vilna Troupe"), Bella Bellarina, Frieda Blumenthal, Herz Grossbard, Moishe Feder, David Hamburger etc. This troupe often presented itself as the "Vilna Troupe" and began to perform in Berlin in September 1921, and in eight months they presented Hirshbein’s "Di puste kretshmer (The Idle Inn)," Anski’s "The Dybbuk," and several other plays by Hirshbein, Pinski et al.

After Berlin the troupe made a large tour all over Germany (Leipzig, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Chemnitz, etc.), Holland, Belgium, France and England, where they played till February 1928.

In May 1928 the new troupe was reorganized and joining it were: Noach Nachbush, Sholom Tanin, M. Kowalsky Polia Walter, Leah Naomi, Miriam Weide, Wolf Silberberg, Betty Dalska, Moishe Feder, etc. Spending several months in Harzburg in order to study a new repertoire, the troupe traveled to Holland and Belgium. From there they were requested by Boris Thomashefsky to come to America. In order to complement the troupe from which Zilberberg and Dalska had resigned, Schneyer, Zelazo and Bellarina were added on, especially for this American tour.

The "Vilna Troupe" came to America composed of the following actors: Asro, Bellarina, Bleifer, Joseph Greenberg, Weide, Vitalin, Walter, Zelazo, Tanin, Lubotzky, Naomi, Nachbush, Alomis, Feder, Kowalsky, and Schneyer. The troupe began to perform in New York’s Nora Bayes Theatre (on Broadway and 44th Street). The repertoire was made up of their previously performed European plays.

Several months later the troupe made a tour of America. After Schneyer and Bellarina appeared, they were joined by Chanah Kadison and R. Wendorf. This new group made a second tour all over America, at which time they played for six months in Los Angeles. Eventually, they toured other states including New York and Chicago, where due to union issues they had to play in Glickman’s Theatre two days a week. Here they put on "Der luft mentsh (The Air Merchant)" by S. Yushkevich (translated and directed by L. Kadison), Leon Zalatkop’s play "Di biterer tropn (the Sorrowful Musical Notes)," and Avraham Goldenfaden’s "Beyde kuni lemel (The Two Kuni Lemels)" (both directed by L. Kadison).

After their guest appearance in Cleveland and Detroit the troupe returned to New York where Asro took over directing the troupe that opened in the New York Lipzin Theatre (for the 1926-7 season). The personnel consisted of: Asro, Walter, Wendorf, Lubotzky, Tanin, Feder, Leib and Chanah Kadison, Naomi, Shigorin, and from the members of the Yiddish Actors' Union in America: Anna Shapiro, Yitskhok Bliefeld, Moishe Silberstein, and Itzak Hershkowtiz (prompter).

They opened 3 September 1926 with Al. Tolstoy’s appearing in Paul Chegolieff’s play "Rasputin and the Tsarina" (translated by M. Osherowitch, directed by D.S. Monko, props by Foshko). On 22 September 1926 they presented Kadelburg’s comedy "Der shvartser flek (The Black Stain)" (translated by L. Kadison, directed by Y. Schneyer and L. Kadison). On 22 October 1926 -- Louie Miller’s drama "On a hartz" (Without a Heart)" (directed by L. Kadison under the supervision of the author), and after this, since Asro and Alomis came back to the troupe, Jenny Valiere appeared in her repertoire. Later they played several of Gordin’s plays (in which Vera Lubov also appeared). The troupe traveled to other cities outside of New York City.

For the season 1928-1929 they organized a troupe cooperative that included the following personnel: Rosie Birnbaum, Bergreen, Wendorf, Zelazo, Helen Zelinska, Moishe Teyman, Naomi, Neroslavska, Nachbush, Leib and Chanah Kadison, and the members of the "Art Ring": Kolker and Cohen. They took over an intimate theatre in the Bronx. It opened on 12 October 1928 with B. Appelbaum’s "General, a shpil in dray aktn and sibn bilder (General)," a play in three acts and seven scenes, (directed by Jacob Mestel and Jacob Ben-Ami, with scenery by M. Zolotaroff, music by A. Ellstein). Later they performed their repertoire, and on 13 December 1928 they presented Chone Gottesfeld’s comedy "Parnose (Livelihood)" (directed by L. Kadison). This played till the end of the season. In the Summer of 1929 the troupe played in many Yiddish theatres throughout New York City and out-of-town.

For the Season of 1929-30 the troupe played in the Bronx's American Theatre with the following personnel: Joseph Buloff, Barzell, Birnbaum, Wendorf, Teyman, Naomi, Neraslovska, Nachbush, Feder, Leib, Chanah and Luba Kadison. On 1 November 1929 they presented Francizek Langer’s play "Periphery," aka "Mord (Murder)" (translated by Luba Kadison). On 10 December 1929 A. Kaczyne's play "Der dukos (The Rebuff)," a reworking by Joseph Buloff called the "Ger tzedik (The Convert)" (directed by L. Kadison) was presented. On 31 January 1930, Ludwig Fulda’s comedy "Yunger froynde (Young friends)" aka "Alte bokhurim (Old Boys)" was staged. On 28 February 1930 -- a revue of folksongs with scenery called: "Der regn-boygn (The Rainbow)" (directed by Y. Buloff). After this the troupe actually fell apart.

During the summer of 1923 the European part of the "Vilna Troupe" (Leib, Chanah and Luba Kadison, A. Shteyn, J. Buloff, Y. Tarlo, A. Samberg, Helena Gotlib, Y. Weislitz, M. Orleska, Y. Kamien, Y. Lares, H. Schneyer, H. Braz etc. arrived in Romania. Here they played from 1 July till 9 September 1923 under the direction of Y. Goldenberg in Bucharest’s Jignitsa Garden. Here too Samberg presented Sholem Asch’s "Motke ganev (Motke the Thief)" and Sholem Aleichem’s "Dos groyse gevins (The Big Win)." The troupe then went on, till the end of December, to make guest appearances in Galatz, Iasi, Czernowitz, Belz and Kishinev. Approximately in February 1924 by invitation form the Czernowitz Yiddish Theatre Union, which undertook to financially back the troupe, they returned for a longer stay to Czernowitz. Here they presented H. Berger’s comedy, "Der mabul (The Flood)" (translated by Zalman Zylbercweig and directed by A. Samberg and L. Kadison, scenery by Kadison). Due to an outbreak of anti-Semitic unrest, the troupe were cautioned not to perform. The troupe, according to Chaim Geller, wandered around for weeks in Czernowitz without any work. Several members eventually looked around and went off to the wide-open-world. The remainder went off to the smaller provincial towns, where the stink had not yet arrived.

In the summer of 1924 the troupe turned around ( Leib and Chanah Kadison had resigned) to Bucharest, where they performed till 14 September 1924 in the Jignitsa. Here, Samberg presented Moliere’s "Der karger (The Miser)" (translated by Einhorn). On account of weak financial success Goldenberg withdrew from directing the troupe, and much like Buloff, Luba Kadison and Ch. Schneyer left the troupe. The remainder of the troupe went through the provinces, but Buloff returned right away along with Kadison. The troupe began once more to perform in Bucharest and the Central Theatre (directed by Sandau). Here the newly arrived director Bela Daniel took over and presented David Pinski’s "Dovid hamelekh un zayn vayber (King David and his Wives)," and Moliere’s "George Danin." Still later together with Buloff a revue program was presented. Daniel left the troupe and Buloff took on his and Y. Sternberg’s reworking of Dymow's "Der zinger fun zayn troyer (the Singer of his Sorrows)" (directed by Ruben and Baron Levendal). They garnered a most unusually positive following.
The season ended with A. Shteyn’s and Y. Sternberg’s presentation of L.G. Tolstoy’s "Der lebidiker meys (The Living Corpse)." In the summer of 1925 the troupe traveled around the provinces with Dymow's newly popular play "Der zinger fun zayn troyer (The Singer of his Sorrows)."

During the season of 1925-6 a new organization supporting the "Vilna Troupe" was established in Bucharest. They altered their name based upon local taste and interest to "Drama and Comedy." The artistic director of this new organization was the poet Yakov Sternberg. At this time the actors Simkha Natan, Naomi Leventhal-Gatan and Sh. Iris joined the troupe. The season opened with a play by A. Katczyne, "Der dukhos (The Duke)," introduced by the author (scenery by Arthur Kolnik). After that Sternberg presented Gogol’s "Khasene (A Wedding)" (Directed by Baron Levendal) and A. Shteyn, also Yevrayinov’s "Der iker (The Fundementals)" (translated by Sh. Iris). However the high costs of the presentations and the weak box office take was leading to bankruptcy for the organization. The troupe was once again self-reliant and took a role in improving its business. At this point, J. Buloff clarified the issue for us. He restaged new versions of Jzsalowski and Asch’s "Shabse Zvi" (scenery by Maxim, music by Schwartman). The troupe went out to perform through the provinces, visiting Transylvania for the first time. Here they met with bans by the Orthodox religious leaders, not allowing its followers to attend their performances. When Joseph Buloff and Luba Kadison undertook a journey to America, the remaining members of the troupe returned to Bucharest, where they played for a short time. After that they went on to Czernowitz where A. Shteyn presented Andreyev’s play "Der gedank (The Thought)," translated by Nathan Zylbercweig). In April 1926 they presented "Der detective" in Czernowitz by Ramulos Voygescu (translated by Shlomo Bikel). This caused a scandal because the author was a representative of the local police. Shteyn and other members left the troupe, and the remaining members went back to Poland, where they played all over the Galicia. After this they appeared in Lemberg in the Ukrainian Theatre auditorium.

The troupe at that time consisted of : Miriam Orleska, Chava Eisen, Brakazh, David Herman, Rukhl Holtser, Hober, Yakov and Yocheved Weislitz, Weinstock, M. Mazo, Avraham Morevski, Naomi and Simcha Natan, Y. Kamien, and Nadya Kareni. They performed on 12 August 1927 in "Der nisayon (The Experiment)," a dramatic story in four acts by Yakov Prager, directed by David Herman. In October 1927 they staged "Yehudis un holofrenes (Judith and Holofernes)," directed by D. Herman. Later they staged "Di untervelt (Periphery) (The Underworld)," a drama in four acts by Francizek Langer (Directed by Yezshi Walden, scenery by Peritz Kleinman, composer  M. Honigshtok)," and Wispiansky’s "Der richter (The Judge)." From Lemberg the troupe went to Krakow, and from there it came to Warsaw. Here they began to play on 22 March1928 in the Elysium Theatre with the following personnel: Miriam Orleska, David Birnbaum, Helena Gottlib, Esther Goldenberg, Zalmen Hershfeld, Yakov Weislitz, Ruth Torn, David Licht, Yakov Mansdorf, Naomi and Simcha Nathan, A. Samberg, Yosef and Dina Kamien, Yakov Kurlender, Bas-Sheva Kremer, Esther Rafael, Perel Ruth and Shmuel Sheftel. On 2 May 1928 they presented "Kiddush hashem (Martyrdom)" by Sholem Asch, arranged for the stage in fifteen scenes and directed by Michael Weichert, settings and costumes by W. Weintraub, music by Henech Kon, dance by the sisters Ram, choral and crowd scenes by the Folks Choir led by M. Shneur."

On 14 August 1928 they presented "Di vayberishe kniplakh (The Womanly Nest Eggs),"  an old Yiddish comedy in three acts and a prologue, with music and song by Ludwig (Leibish) Levinson (Levizon), concept and direction by David Herman, scenery and costumes by W. Weintraub, music arrangements by Kumok."

In October 1928 they staged Peretz’s "Baynakht oyfn altn mark (At Night in the Old Marketplace)," concept and direction by David Herman, scenery by W. Weintraub, music by Joseph Kaminsky, dance by Leah Rotbaum.

In September 1928 Abraham Teitelbaum made a guest appearance and presented "Tayve unter di ulam boymer (Desire Under the Elms)" by Eugene O’Neill -- Yiddish by Avraham Teitelbaum, scenery by Y. Shlivnik.

In November 1928 the troupe traveled for some short guest appearances to several towns in Poland. They also performed in Vilna for the first time since they were founded. Here the organization "Friends of Yiddish Theatre in Vilna" issued on 4 December 1928, in honor of the troupe, a special brochure "Our Stage."

On 18 December 1928 the troupe started once again to perform in Warsaw, and in December 1928 they presented "Der kishuf krayz (The Magic Circle)," a play in four acts (five scenes) based upon the "Khinezishn fun klabund (The Chinaman From Klabund), by Berthold Brecht, Yiddish by Moishe Leib Halpern, directed by Avraham Teitelbaum, scenery by W. Weintraub."

On 6 February 1929 they staged V. Katayev’s "Man, vayb un revolutsie (Man, Wife and Revolution)," "Di kvardratur fun rod (The Rhode Square)," Yiddish M.M., directed by David Herman." In February 1929 -- (Shylock) (Der soykher fun venedik (The Merchant of Venice), a spectacle in four acts by William Shakespeare, translated by Israel Stern and Mark Rachofsky, inspiration and directed by Michael Weichert, scenery and costumes by W. Weintraub, music by H.Kon, dance by D’anneh."

At this point A. Samberg left the troupe. Returning to the troupe were Yosef Kamien and Dina Kamien (Koenig). Due to high taxes and other difficulties, the troupe left Warsaw in May 1929 and traveled to Krakow, Lodz, Radom, Lublin, various Galician towns and Bialystok for a tour. On 10 November 1929 they presented "Yidn shtot (Jewishtown), a drama in 3 acts with a prologue by Aaron Zeitlin, inspired and directed by Dr. Michael Weichert, scenery and costumes by W. Weintraub, music and choir by Henech Kon, dance by Leah Rotbaum."

Other guest appearances by the troupe occurred in in Lomza, Baranowitz, Vilna, Grodno, and Bialystok. They prepared to travel to Leipzig to present "Hershele Ostropolier" and Leivick’s "Der goylem (The Golem)."

 M.E. from Leib Kadison, Leah Naomi, Noach Nachbush and Joseph Buloff.

  • Zalmen Reisen -- The Yiddish Theatre in Vilna, "Vilner Zamelbukh" (editor Dr. Ts. Shabad), Vilna, 1918, pp. 165-174.

  • David Einhorn -- Di milkhome hot geshafn a yidishn folks-theater in berlin, "Forward," N.Y., 7 August 1921.

  • A.S. Lirik -- Dr "dybuk" in berlin iz a durkhfal, "Tog," N.Y., 16 Dec. 1921.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- A yor yidish teater, "Teater un kino," Lodz, 1, 1922.

  • M.M. (Morris Myer) -- Dos yidishe teater in london, "Ta"k," Lodz, 1-2, 1922.

  • B.A. Sokhatshevski -- Di "vilner trupe in london," Ta"k," Lodz, 1, 1922.

  • R.P. -- A briv fun antverpen, "Teater un kino," Lodz, 2, 1922.

  • A vanderer -- Di "vilner troupe," "Teater un kino," Lodz, 3, 1922.

  • N.F. -- Di "yidishe kinstler-trupe" in pariz, "Teater un kino," Lodz, 4, 1922.

  • A. Hammer -- Di "vilner trupe" in vienna, "Teater un kino," Lodz, 5, 1922.

  • Pinchas Katz -- Beyde kuni-lemels, "Ta"k," Lodz, 7, 1922.

  • A. Hammer -- Groiser erfolg fun "vilner trupe" in vienna, "Teater un kino," Lodz, 9, 1922.

  • L. Blumenfeld -- Di baritmte vilner trupe shpilt itst in pariz, "Forward," N.Y., 3 November 1922.

  • Dr. L. Katz -- Der "dybuk" un a nayer "shylok" in vienna, "Frayhayt," N.Y., 16 December 1922.

  • Pinchas Katz -- Di barimte vilner theater trupe -- oder beyde kuni-lemels, "Forward," N.Y., 30 Dec. 1922.

  • A. Hammer -- Di vayterdike gastroln fun di "vilner" in vienna, "Ta"k," Lodz, 2, 1923.

  • S. Bielski -- "Di vilner" un dos tsukunftike yidishe teater, "Ta"k," Lodz, 7, 1923.

  • Mendel Elkin -- Sholem ash's "got fun nekhome" iz zikh nukm on a holender rabiner, "Forward," 28 July 1923.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Di shoyshpiler fun der barimter "vilna troupe," "Forward," 16 November 1923.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Der geyeg nokh ... aktiorn fun der "vilner trupe," "Forward," 3 December 1923.

  • [--] -- Theater politik fun baslavitsh biz libavitsh un fun london biz nyu-york, "Forward," 7 Dec. 1923.

  • Boris Thomshefsky -- Thomashevsky's dertselt vos es hot zikh obgeton in theater velt mit der vilner trupe, "Forward," N.Y., 12 Dec. 1923.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Di ervorteter gest, di "vilner troupe," "Forward," 4 January 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- Epes gor anander sort yidishe aktiorn zaynen zay, "Forward," 11 January 1924.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Alte bekente tsvishn di vilner, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 11 January 1924.

  • B. Bronz -- Di vilnjer trupe in nyu york, "Forward," 12 January 1924.

  • Alef-Alef -- Dos naye in der vilner trupe, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 12 January 1924.

  • Liliput -- Kunst khhnim in der fremd, "Frayhayt," N.Y., 18 January 1924.

  • Tzvi Cohen -- "Di vilner," "Yidishe Tageblatt," 18 January 1924.

  • A. Frumkin -- Di "vilner" in nyu york, "Di yidishe velt," Cleveland, 22 January 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- "Di vilner trupe iz georen in a tsayt fun shrek, hunger un fartsveyflung, "Forward," N.Y., 24 January 1924.

  • Sh. Erdberg -- Tsu tomashevsky's breyngen di "vilner," "Yidishe Tageblatt," 25 January 1924.

  • Y.L. Fein -- Londoner yidn hobn faribl oyf'n "forverts" farvos er hot gekidnept di vilner trupe, "Forward," 26 January 1924.

  • Ts.H. Rubinstein -- Galitsianer un litvakes, "Der tog," N.Y., 30 January 1924.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Di ershte amerikaner forshtelung fun der vilner trupe, "Forward," N.Y., 30 January 1924.

  • N. Buchwald -- Di ershte forshtelung fun der vilner trupe, "Frayhayt," N.Y., 30 January 1924.

  • Dr. A. Koralnik --  Der vilner "dybuk," "Der tog," N.Y., 30 January 1924.

  • Shakhna Epstein -- Dos "pintele yid" in a hekherer mdrgh, "Frayhayt," N.Y., 1 February 1924.

  • Israel the Yankee -- Di vilner trupe in an-ski's "dybuk," "Yidishe tageblatt," 1 February 1924.

  • Lead Pencil -- Vos es hot zikh opgeton in theater bay der ershter forshtelung fun di vilner," Forward," 1 February 1924.

  • Vladimir Grossman -- Der dybuk bay di vilner, "Der tog," N.Y., 1 February 1924.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Teatrale dbkut, "Morning Journal," 1 February 1924.

  •  B. Botwinik -- Di ziegreykhe deytshn zaynen baziegt  gevorn fun der yidisher vilner trupe, "Forward," 2 February 1924.

  • V. Grossman -- Der groyser shprung fun dem "dybuk"  biz tsu der 'nevule," "Der tog," N.Y., 6 February 1924.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Di vilner trupe in a realistisher drame, "Forward," 6 February 1924.

  • Olgin -- Nit emes, "Frayhayt," 8 February 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- Di deytshn gibn avek der vilner trupe dem shtodtishn theater, "Forward," 9 February 1924.

  • Sh. Erdberg -- Di vilner in "di nevule," "Yidishe Tageblatt," 8 February 1924.

  • Pinchas Katz -- A hekhst interesante meyse vegn a vilner bel-heglh, itst a "lord" in london un di vilner trupe, "Forward," N.Y., 13 February 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- Di bolshevides erklern di vilner trupe als regirungs-teater, "Forward," 16 February 1924.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- "Der dybuk" un "di nevule" bay der vilner troupe, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 15 February 1924.

  • A. [Z.] Kornblith -- Di vilner troupe hot opgelebt dem "patriotizt" funm yidishn teater, "Forward," N.Y., 18 February 1924.

  • B.Y. Goldstein -- Bay di vilner un in kunst-teater, "Der tog," N.Y., 22 February 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- Vi azoy di vilner trupe hot zikh gefilt tsu der ershter forshtelung in amerika, "Forward," 23 Feb. 1924.

  • Vladimir Grossman -- "Grine felder," "Tog," 25 February 1924.

  • B. Gorin -- Di beste forshtelung fun der vilner trupe, "Morning Journal," 26 February 1924.

  • N. Buchwald -- Hirshbein's a idile bay di vilner, "Frayhayt," 25 February 1924.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Di vilner trupe in peretz hirshbein's "grine felder," "Forward," 27 February 1924.

  • Vladimir Grossman -- "Kinstler," "Tog," 26 February 1924.

  • Tsvion -- Ot zaoy shpilt men teater, "Forward," 29 February 1924.

  • Israel the Yankee -- "Di grine felder," "Yidishe tageblatt," 29 February 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- Forvos ken men nit makhn in amerika aza theater vi di vilner trupe?, "Forward," 9 Mach 1924.

  • Der tunkler -- Der geruder mit di "vilner" in amerika, "Yidishe tageblatt," 7 March 1924.

  • Pinchas Katz -- Ir zayt a vilner?, "Forward," 7 March 1924.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Theater notitsn, "Forward," 14 March 1924.

  • L.S. Bieli -- "Der dorfsyung" bay di vilner, "Yidishe tageblatt," 21 March 1924.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Vilner trupe in kobrin's "yankl boyle," "Forward," 19 March 1924.

  • N.B. -- Di vilner, di aktiorn-yunion un der "forverts," "Frayhayt," 19 March 1924.

  • M. Osherowitch -- Noakh nakhbush un ol zelazo in eyn role, "Forward," 21 March 1924.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Der dorfs-yung (yenkl boyle), "Morning Journal," 21 March 1924.

  • Sarah B. Smith -- Leon kobrin's "dorfs-yung" bay di vilner, "Tog," 21 March 1924.

  • Israel the Yankee -- A tsveyte serie "vilner" in L. kobrin's "dorfs yung," "Yidishe tageblatt," N.Y., 29 March 1924.

  • M. Elkin -- Di vilner, "Tealit," N.Y., 4, 1924.

  • R. Guskin -- Erklerung fun aktiorn yunion vegn kontrakt fun neshonal teater mit der "vilner trupe," "Foward," 1 April 1924.

  • B. Botwinik -- Antisemtitn fun baden koyfn oys tikets oystsufeyfen di vilner, "Forward," 11 April 1924.

  • M. Osherowitch -- Der eyndruk vos di "vilner" makhn in "yankl derr shmid," "Forward," 24 April 1924.

  • Melekh Epstein -- Di vilner tseykenen zikh oys in "yankl der shmid," "Frayhayt," 25 April 1924.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Di vilner trupe in dovid pinski's "Yankl der shmid," "Forward," 26 April 1924.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Notitsen vegn yidishn theater, "Forward," 29 April 1924.

  • N. Buchwald -- Di vilner trupe in nokh a piese, "Frayhayt," 30 May 1924.

  • Chaim Geller -- Di "vilner" in yerushalayim drumenye, "Literarishe bleter," 66, 1925.

  • Dr. Y. Wigodski -- "In shturm," Vilna, 1926, pp. 281-82.

  • Michael Weichert -- "Teater un drame," Vilna, 1926, Vol. I., pp. 35-39, 71-128; Vol. 2, pp. 5-8, 13-20.

  • N.M. -- Royter grimtsorn, "Naye folks tsaytung," Warsaw, 22 April 1926.

  • Ruth -- Der emes vegn skandal mit der vilner trupe in rumenye, "Naye folkstsaytung," Warsaw, 126, 1926.

  • Dr. Y. Kritikus -- Di "vilner" vern amerikaner, "Der amerikaner," N.Y., 16 April 1926.

  • N. Buchwald -- Bowery and Second Avenue, "Frayhayt," 10 Sept. 1926.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Der onhoyb, "Morning Journal," 13 Sept. 1926.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Der nayer sizon in yidishn teater, 'Forward," 14 Sept. 1926.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Dray fun di naye yidishe piesn, "Forward," 16 Sept. 1926.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Geveyn un gelekhter in dray teaters, "Morning Journal,"  29 Sept. 1929.

  • A. Frumkin -- "Der shvartser flek" a naye piese bay der vilner trupe," "Der tog," N.Y., 29 Sept. 1926.

  • N. Buchwald -- Di naye "orientatsies" fun undzere kunst-teaters, "Der Hamer," October 1926.

  • L. Kesner -- "On a harts," "Yidishe tageblatt," N.Y., 29 Oct. 1926.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Di vilner trupe in a naye piese, "Forward," 29 Oct. 1926.

  • A. Frumkin -- Louie miller's "on a harts" bay di "vilner," "tog," 27 Oct. 1926.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Louie miller's "on a harts," "Morning Journal," 29 Oct. 1926.

  • B. Botwinik -- Di vilner trupe oyf der bowery, "Der veker," N.Y., 20 Nov. 1926.

  • (--) -- Di vilner yidishe kinstler un zayer direktor fun der "sigurantse," "Frayhayt," N.Y., 20 Dec. 1926.

  • (Notits in) "Literarishe bleter," 119, 1926.

  • Aaron Zeitlin -- Bay di vilner in lemberg, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, 34, 1927.

  • L. Dreykurs -- An alt-nayer teater-tsentr, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, 41-42, 1927.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Di vilner trupe in rumenye, "Yiddish Theatre," Warsaw, 1, 1927, pp. 64-68.

  • Arnold Zweig -- "Juden Auf der deutschen Buhne," Berlin, Welt-Verlag, 1928, pp. 268-275.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- Vos iz gevorn mit der "vilner trupe?," "Lodz tageblatt," 6 July 1928.

  • N.M. -- Di vilner trupe in varshe, "Literarishe bleter," 13, 1928.

  • N.M. -- Dos yidishe teater in varshe, "Literarishe bleter," 14-15, 1928.

  • N.M. -- Tsu der oyfirung fun sholem ash "kidush-hashem" bay der vilner trupe, 18, 1928.

  • N.M. -- A. katsizne -- sholem ash's "kidush hashem" bauy der vilner trupe, "Literarishe bleter," 19, 1928.

  • N.M. -- Di hundertste forshtelung fun sholem ash "kidush hashem," "Literarishe bleter," 30, 1928.

  • N. Mayzel -- "Di vayberishe kniplekh" bay "di vilner," "Literarishe bleter," 34, 1928.

  • N. Mayzel -- Di naye oyffirung bay di vilner, "Literarishe bleter,"  38, 1928.

  • Nakhman Mayzel -- Peretzs "baynakht oyfn altn mark," by der "vilner trupe," "Literarishe bleter," 42, 1928.

  • "Unzer bine," organ fun der gezelshaft "fraynd fun yidishn teater," in vilne, Vilna, 4 December 1928.

  • (--) -- An erklerung fun der nakhbush-neomi grupe fun di vilner shoyshpiler, "Forward," 12 Oct. 1928.

  • A. Glantz -- Di oyffirung in'm nayem intimn teater fun der "vilner troupe," "Tog," N.Y., 19 Oct. 1928.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- "Gerangel," "Morning Journal," 19 Oct. 1928.

  • L. Fogelnest -- "Gerangel" -- a naye drame in "intimn teater," "Forward," 26 Oct. 1928.

  • Ab. Cahan -- "Parnose," "Forward," 27 Oct. 1928.

  • A. Glantz -- Gotesfelds "parnose" bay di vilner, "Tog," N.Y., 27 Dec. 1928.

  • Alef-Alef -- "Parnose," "Morning Journal," 28 Dec. 1928.

  • D. Kaplan -- "Mord," oyfgefirt fun der vilner trupe, "Forward," 8 Nov. 1928.

  • William Edlin -- "Mord" geshpilt fun der vilner trupe, "Forward," 8 Nov. 1929.

  • B.Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeter shtime," 15 Nov. 1929.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Tsvey iberrashungen, "Morning Journal," 15 Nov. 1929.

  • A. Leyeles -- Arum teater, "Di vokh," N.Y., 7, 1929.

  • William Edlin -- "Ger tsedek" interesante shtarke drame, geshpilt fun vilner troupe, "Tog," 20 Dec. 1929.

  • N. Mayzel -- "Kishuf-krayz" in der vilner trupe, "Literarishe bleter," 1, 1929.

  • N.M. -- Kvadratur fun rod fun v. katayev bay di "vilner" in varshe, "Literarishe bleter," 7, 1929.

  • N.M. -- Tsu der oyfirung fun "shylok" bay di "vilner," "Literarishe bleter," 9, 1929.

  • Israel Stern -- Epes vegn kino, masn un shyloks oyszen, "Literarishe bleter," 13, 1929.

  • Alexander Granach -- Vegn der yidisher "shylok"-oyfirung, "Literarishe bleter," 15, 1929.

  • Y.M. Neyman -- Dos ergste fun der geshikhte, "Literarishe bleter," 16, 1929.

  • N. Mayzel -- G. yevreynovs "der eikr" in der "vilner troupe, "Literarishe bleter," 17-18, 1929.

  • S. Mz"at -- S'volt geven dos ergste! "Literarishe bleter," 17-18, 1929.

  • Y.M. Neyman -- A kurts tshuve, "Literarishe bleter," 19, 1929.

  • Chaim Schneyer -- On a nomen, "Literarishe bleter," 34, 1929.

  • Nachman Mayzel -- Aaron zeitlins drame "yidn-shtot" bay der vilner trupe, "Literarishe bleter," 46, 1929.

  • (--) -- A shmues mit aaron zeitlin, "Literarishe bleter," 47, 1929.

  • B.Sh. -- Vider in der tsigeyberg-boyd, "Naye folkstsaytung," Warsaw, 8 May 1929.

  • (--) -- Rekhtlozigkayt un ngishut pertroybn di "vilner trupe" fun varshe, "Haynt," Warsaw, 10 May 1929.

  • Z. Reisen -- Shekspir bay di "vilner" in yidishn folks-teater, "Vilner tog," 289, 1929.

  • L. Krishtal -- Di vilner trupe in goles, "Der vilner," N.Y., 1930, pp. 62-64.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Di historishe operete, "Morning Journal," 3 Jan. 1930.

  • B.Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeter shtime," 3 Jan. 1930.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- "Yideler spektakl," "Morning Journal," 17 Jan. 1930.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Arum teater, "Morning Journal," 7 Feb. 1930.

  • William Edlin -- A komedye un a melodrame, "Der tog," 7 Feb. 1930.

  • D. Kaplan -- "Alte bokhurim" bay der vilner trupe, "Forward," 14 February 1930.

  • B.Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeter shtime," 14 February 1930.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- In orimkeyt, "Morning Journal," 28 Feb. 1930.

  • A. Les -- Arum teater, "Di vokh," N.Y., 14, 1930.

  • M. Grim -- Arum teater, "Di vokh," N.Y., 19, 1930.

  • M. Grim -- Der "regnboygn" bay di vilner, "Di vokh," N.Y., 25, 1930.

  • Joel Entin -- Fun der teater-velt, "Tsukunft," March 1930.

  • Dr. Michael Weichert -- di shfe fun "vilner trupes," ""Literarishe bleter," 30, 1930.

  • (--) -- Dos yidishe kultur-lebn in rumenyen, "Literarishe bleter," 41-42, 1930.

  • N.M. -- Dos letste vort vun di "vilner," "Literarishe bleter," 44, 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 704.

Translation courtesy of Paul Azaroff.

Copyright ©  Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.