Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Dr. Michael Weichert


Born on 5 May 1890 in Staremiasto, Galicia-Podolia. His father was a grain merchant, a half-mashkhil, and a half-msngd. At age three he traveled with his parents across to Stanislawow, where he learned in a Polish folkshul and in the afternoon in a cheder-msukn, then in the Polish gymnasium and Hebrew and Tanach with the writer Yitzhak Pernhof. As a student of the higher classes he was the only Yiddishist in the Zionist-Hebrew environment, and in 1908 attended the Yiddish language conference in Czernowitz. After finishing the gymnasium, he studied in Lemberg's university and, already feeling from earlier a desire for theatre, he went away in 1910 to Vienna, where he attended a dramatic school, ending with an award from the Jewish facultat lessons about language science, literature, theatre and art, receiving in 1916 a doctorate, then arriving in Berlin as a hospitant for Max Reinhardt and also completed in the university in literature-theatre-and-art-historical studies.

In 1917-1918 -- W. published in German in "Der yude", a series of articles about the history of Yiddish theatre [with links then printed in the Yiddish translation of Z. Zylbercweig in the "Lodzer tageblat"]. In 1918 -- he worked in Warsaw as a "hilfsdinstflikhtiker", in a scientific newspaper institute(?) with the German military press management. Remaining in Warsaw, W. entered into the director's leadership of the "Vilna Troupe", and staged in 1919 Hauptmann's Henshel furman". Soon however he left the theatre, becoming a teacher of German in the Yiddish


gymnasium and began publishing in various newspapers and journals a range of critiques having to do in general with the Yiddish theatre, especially about the plays that were performed. A part of these articles were later included in the book "Theatre and Drama" (Vilna publishing house of B. Kletskin, second enlarged edition, 1926, Vol. I, 192 pp., 16, Volume II,, 186 pp., 16).

In 1921 W. edited, together with Alter Kacyzne, the journal "Ringen", in which W. dedicates many places of the Yiddish theatre. Later he published in the Swedish journal "Yudarna", under the direction of Dr. M. Ernpreyz a study about Yiddish theatre.

W. for a certain time was chairman of the Yiddish Artists Union in Poland, and had participated in the editing of "Yiddish Theatre" (Warsaw, 1921 -- April 1922), issued for the Yiddish Artists Union in Poland, had edited and issued (later the publisher Kletskin) six issues of the journal "Theater" (Warsaw, April 1925 -- February 1926), had edited 11 issues (25 March--26 August 1927) of the bi-weekly "Yiddish Theatre of the Yiddish Artists Union in Poland", which was printed as a special supplement in the "Literarishe bleter", and also was published in a separate printing, and edited the quarterly book, "Yiddish Theatre". In the entirety of the editions, W. published articles about Yiddish and about theatre in general, as well as papers about theatre organizational matters.

W. directed in the "Vilna Troupe" his dramatization of Sholem Asch's novel "Kiddush Hashem" in twenty-five scenes, which was staged on 2 May 1928, and was performed two hundred and fifty times almost without breaks. The same play W. also staged on 16 September 1928 in Riga's "New Yiddish Theatre". W. also directed in the "Vilna Troupe" Mark Rakovsky's and Israel Stern's translation of Shakespeare's "Shylock" (February 1929). Aaron Zeitlin's drama "Yidn shtot" (staged by the "Vilna Troupe" on 10 November 1929 in Bialystok), and prepared to stage with the "Vilna Troupe" M. Lifshits' comedy "A mayse mit hershele ostropolyer (A Tale of Hershele Ostropolier)".

W. directed in Warsaw with a Yiddish dramatic school, from which a part of the graduates now are professionals on the Yiddish stage.

From time to time, W. also gives courses on theatre matters.

M E.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I, 938-40.

  • Dr. Jacob Shatzky -- Teater un stsene, "Bikher-velt", Warsaw, 3, 1922.

  • Dr. Michael Weichert -- Tsvey yor yidishe dramatishe shul, "Literarishe bleter", 42, 46, 1925.

  • [--] -- Komunikatn, "Literarishe bleter", 48, 1927.

  • Dr. Michael Weichert --Briv in redaktsye, "Literarishe bleter", 49, 1927.

  • [--] -- Hinter di kulisn fun der kiddush-hashem-oyffirung, "Literarishe bleter", 21, 1928.

  • Nakhum Mayzel -- Aaron tseytlins drame "yidn-shtot" bey der "vilner trupe", "Literarishe bleter", 10, 1929.

  • Nakhum Mayzel -- Aaron tseytlins drame "yidn-shtot" bey der "vilner trupe", "Literarishe bleter", 46, 1929.

  • Jacob Mestel -- Teater bikher, "Morgn-Frayhayt", N. Y., 8 July 1929.

  • Jacob Mestel -- "Teater un drame", "Archive", pp. 505-6.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 676.

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