Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Joseph Weinstock


Born on 19 April 1858 in Kremenitz, Volin Gubernia. His father was a non-Orthodox rabbi. He completed a four-class gymnasium and a rabbinical school in Zhitomir. After the gymnasium, he participated in the student productions.

As a close relative of Goldfaden, W. was taken into his troupe in Odessa, in Remeslengi club, and later in Marinsky's Theatre, his first roles were: "Giberman" in Goldfaden's "Breindele Kozak", "the father" in "Di kaprizne tokhter", "Mnukh" in "Shulamis".

After a short time, G. sent him out with a troupe to the province, and thus W. traveled through Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Kurland, Lifland, Lettland, again Poland, Rumania, Galicia, Austria, Hungary. Most of the time he acted in the troupe in cellars, cities, magazines, and very few in the halls or special theatre stages. Many times the troupe used to go on foot from one city into the other.

In 1883 W. acted with his troupe in Lodz in the Folks Theatre, but due to recovery of the Yiddish theatre, he traveled with his troupe (Goldschmidt, Aba Schoengold with his wife Montshikl, Sara Goldstein -- later Karp, Leyzer Tsukerman, Mindel Tsukerman, Kaufman, Zak's wife, Shaul Weinstein, Rosa Weinstein, Spivakovsky, Zorakh Vinovitsh, Betty Vinovitsh, Lipzin, Sofia Fridman) to Germany as the "Oriental Operetta Society", acting in "Shulamis" in "German" under the name "Di tokhter fun orient".


For several months he acted with the troupe in "Shulamit" in Kenigsberg, Danzig, Berlin and Leipzig, where they were forbid to stage the subsequent productions because the theatre only had a concession as a vaudeville theatre. After a short time acting in Breslau and Kenigsberg, W. traveled to Poland, where he wandered around for a year across the province, until he arrived at the El Dorado Theatre in Warsaw, and he began once more to act in "Shulmais" in "German". However, the Yiddish public didn't understand the German, and W. had to begin to return to the Yiddish "Shulamis". In order to receive the police permission to perform in Yiddish, W. was forced to stay at his own expense with a Russian operetta trope, which could act for half of a week in the same theatre.

In the span of the two years that he acted in Warsaw, W. also brought here Goldfaden and Sheykevitsh. Then W. acted for a short time in Lodz and was engaged to Treitler in Krakow, traveling later across the Galician province and then as Gimpel opened a Yiddish theatre in Lemberg, W. participated there. In 1889 W. traveled with several actors to Paris in the Goldfaden troupe, and a half-year later, he went together with Goldfaden back to Lemberg, then he organized his own troupe, with whom he acted in the span of several years across Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey and Egypt. Later W. acted in the troupes of Rumania, Czernowitz, Galicia, Budapest, Berlin, again Budapest and Berlin, from where he traveled, in 1901, on the initiative of the guest-starring Thomashefsky, to America, where he acted almost with every Yiddish troupe from America and Canada.

W. also from time to time took up with chazzanut (cantors). In the last years, living in Chicago, W. was not accustomed to act periodically in the local troupes. At the end of the season of 1929-30, W. traveled across the province with Michalesko's guest-starring troupe, and on 2 April 1930, he passed away in Milwaukee from whence they had entered into Chicago.

Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, pp. 238, 240; Vol. II, p. 143.

  • Jacob Kirschenbaum -- Kunst un kinstler, "Di idishe velt", Cleveland, 14 June 1914.

  • Lead Pencil -- A gezunter guf mit a farbenkter neshamah, "Forward", Chicago, 25 April 1919.

  • Sh. Zamd -- Hot gelebt oyf der bine un iz geshtorbn oyf der bine, "Forward", Chicago, 7 April 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 690.

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