Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Vera Zaslavskaya


Born in the village Harbi, Kremenchug oyezd, Kherson Gubernia, Ukraine. Her family moved over to Yelisavetgrad, where she learned in a gymnasium. There she came out to perform with the students in Ukrainian, and she caught the attention of the director of the Ukrainian troupe, Krepovnizky, who engaged her in his troupe.

Z.'s first performed in "Natalka Poltavka". Against her parents' wishes, she toured with the troupe across Russia, until they came to Kiev, where due to passport difficulties, she left the troupe and turned back for home.

After some months when Fishzon came to Yelisavetgrad, whose troupe she wanted to enter, after Z.'s parents were against it. However, she steered them(?) to the stage and fled to Berdichev to Fishzon's troupe.

But as she did not know any Yiddish, she sang only Ukrainian songs in the "divertissements". Throughout that time she learned Yiddish from Fishzon, and she performed as "Mirele" in Goldfaden's "Kishufmakherin", a short time later also in other main roles.

For several years Z. toured with the troupe, together with Fokusnikes and Kuntsnmakher, acting in various places, such as in stations and factories, until in 1902 when Fishzon became licensed to play "Yiddish-German theatre", and Z. became popular in Russia as a prima donna.


In 1903 Z. married the actor Misha Fishzon, and began to perform in Gordin's repertoire as a dramatic actress.

In 1905 Z. guest-starred in Lemberg and later in Warsaw until 1908, when she became, together with Misha Fishzon, engaged to America to Kessler in a theatre, where she acted for a short time and then returned to Russia, acting in Peterburg, Moscow, Kiev, Baku and Kharkov, most of the time in dramatic repertoire. 1917 -- Z. acted again in Peterburg, 1918 -- in Odessa, where she became a member of the "Odessa Jewish State Theatre".

In 1921 she acted together with her husband in Romania in  "Yiddish muster un kunst-teater", in 1923 guest-starring with him across Poland, France and England, and at the end of the same year she arrived in America.

In 1924 Z. became engaged in the Yiddish theatre in Detroit, where she acted until 1928, when she went to Europe and guest-starred in Vienna and Romania, together with Misha Fishzon in dramatic and operetta repertoire. 1929-30 -- Z. acted in Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre.

Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 211.

  • Noakh Prilutski -- "Yidish teater", Bialystok, 1921, Vol. II, p. 86.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Zikhrunus fun a yidishn teater-kritiker, "Archive", pp. 346-49.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 750.

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