Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Aaron (-Eliezer) Zeitlin


Born on 3 June (ig sion) 1898 in Uvarovichi, White Russia. Oldest son of Hillel Zeitlin. His childhood years were spent in Gomel, then in Vilna. Since 1907 he was in Warsaw, where he graduated from a gymnasium and attended a high school. In 1920, together with his brother Elkhanan, went of to Eretz Yisroel, and on the way visited Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and at the end of 1921 he returned to Poland across France.

As a youth of eleven he began to publish in Hebrew a children journal. He debuted in Yiddish in 1914 in "The Jewish World (Di yidishe velt)" under the leadership of Sh. Niger. From there he participated in Yiddish and Hebrew in many periodicals published with songs and poems, articles and essays, mainly on literary themes, reviews, satirical songs, pamphlets, translations. Since the autumn of 1926 he became one of the main co-worker and editor of the literary department of the "Warsaw (later) Unzer Ekspres," where he also composed very many journalistic articles. In 1939 he traveled to America, where he became a permanent co-worker of the "Morgn zhurnal (Morning Journal)," which later was the "Tog-Morgn zhurnal (Day Morning Journal.)

His first published book in Yiddish was "Matatron" (1922), an apocalyptic poem, which evoked special attention. In 1922 there was published in Warsaw a collection of his lyric songs, "Shadows on Snow (Shotns oyfn shnay.)"


Z.  was especially dedicated to Yiddish theatre as a dramatist, and as a critic.

In 1929 by the "Vilna Kletskin Publishing Company" there was published his drama, "Jacob Frank," and in the same year in  the "Bibliotek Mark Rakowski," there was published his drama, "Brener." Both plays were never staged.

On 10 November 1929, in Bialystok, the Vilna Troupe staged his play, "Yidn-shtot, a drama in 3 acts with a prologue, scenes and stage direction by Dr. Michael Weichert, sets and costumes by W. Weintraub, music and chorus by Henekh Kon, plastic adaptation by Leah Rotbaum." The play later was staged across other cities in Poland, and at the beginning of January 1930 she staged it in Warsaw. The play was never published.

In 1931 in the book, "A mol in a yubl," there was published Z.'s play, "Jacob Jacobson," which was premiered by the Warsaw kehillah. The play was never staged.

In 1932 Z. published in "Globus" his play "Esterke and Kazimir the Great," which in 16 October 1940, was published in an adapted form by the author, staged in two parts, twelve scenes, in new York, in the "Yiddish Art Theatre" (Maurice Schwartz, regisseur; music by Sholom Secunda, costumes by Arthur Schick; sets by Alex Chertov.) The play on 31 May 1957 was put on by Maurice Schwartz in Buenos Aires with his adopted daughter Frances (Risa) in the title role.

On 17 October 1933 in New York's "Yiddish Art Theatre," there was staged Z.'s comedy, "The Wise Men of Chelm" (Maurice Schwartz, regisseur, music by L. Katzen, sets by Van Rosen and Alex Chertov.)

In 1934 Z. wrote the comedy, "Vaytzman der tsveyter." The play was published in Warsaw's "Globus" (No. 21-22). It was prepared to be staged in "Ohel" in Hebrew, but it was never performed.

In October 1938 in Lodz there was staged by  the "Folks un Yungt" Theatre Z.'s translation of William Shakespeare's "Shturm" (under the direction of Leon Schiller and M. Wiskind.)

In 1938 in Warsaw, through "the Yiddish National Theatre," there was staged Z.'s translation of Shulamit bat-Dori's play, "The Judgment." The play in 1940 also was staged in Argentina by Jacob Buzgan.

In 1939 in four volumes of a "collection book," there was published Z.'s play "In keynems land." On 28 June 1940 there was staged the play in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by "Aift," under the direction of David Licht, and on 21 May 1941 in Cleveland, in the Public Theatre under the direction of Kh. Ostrovsky, music arranged by Jack Shapiro, sets by Moshe Halperin, and in 1947 through the Sheerit Hapleitah in the Camp Negev, under the direction of Jacob Sandler and I. Rubinek.

In April 1944 in New York's Commodore and Astor Hotels, for the "third seder," there was staged Z.'s "Song of Songs," a singing play (music by Joseph Rumshinsky, Zvi Scooler-- regisseur.)

Z. also in handwritten form wrote the play: "The Weaver of Baluti," or, "God of Paris," a fantastical comedy in three acts.

In 1957 in Tel Aviv there was published his Hebrew dramatic poem, "Fire and Salvation [?]."

Z. prepared to publish his play in a Hebrew translation.

The actor Dina Halpern has recorded on a record Z.'s poem, "Children of Majdanek."

Z.'s published plays:

[1] Aaron Zeitlin
     Jacob Frank
     a drama in six scenes
     Vilna publishing company of B. Kletskin
     Vilna, 1929 [109 pages]

[2] Aaron Zeitlin
     dramatic poetry in 3 acts, 10 scenes
     Bibliotek Mark Rakowski
     Warsaw, 1929 [143 pages]

[3] Aaron Zeitlin
     Jacob Jacobson
     a grotesque in 4 acts
     [published in "Amol in a yubl," zamlbukh, 2, 1931, pp. 1-86]

[4] Aaron Zeitlin
     Esterke un kazimir der groyser
     [Ahasver in poyln]
     a Yiddish-Polish mystery in 4 acts
     [published in "Globus," Warsaw, N' 5, 1932, pp. 5-38]
     N' 6, pp. 12-46.

[5] Aaron Zeitlin
     Di yidishe melukhe
     Veitzman der tsveyter
     a play in 14 scenes
     ["Globus," Warsaw, N' 21-22, 1934, pp. 3-53]

[6] Aaron Zeitlin
     In keynems land
     a dramatic vision in 14 scenes
     ["Zamlbikher," New York, N' 4, 1939, pp. 229-382]

In Hebrew:

[1] Aaron Zeitlin
     Fire and Salvation (?)
     a dramatic poem
     Publishers "Yavne," Tel Aviv
     [1957, 392 pages]

M. E.

  • Zalmen Rejzen-- "Lexicon of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. III, pp. 297-99.

  • Yoel Mastbaum-- Yakov frank, "De rmoment," Warsaw, 1 March 1929.

  • Efrim Auerbach-- Aaron zeitlin's "yakov frank," "Oyfkum," N.Y., April 1929.

  • Sh. Niger-- Kurtse shmuesen vegen der nayer yidisher literatur, "Tsukunft," N.Y., May 1929.

  • Itzhak Manger-- Yakov frank, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, (252)9, 1929.

  • Dr. Jacob Shatzky-- Tsvey dramen vegn yakov frank, "Di vokh," N.Y., N'9, 1929.

  • I. Rapaport-- "Brener" fun a. zeitlin, "Fraye shriftn," Warsaw, N' 9, 1929.

  • A. Leyeles-- Himl-shturmer, "Di vokh," N.Y., N' 6, 1929.

  • Melech Ravitch-- A premiere bay di "vilner," "Naye folkstsaytung," Warsaw, 13 November 1929.

  • Dr. Sh-r-- Der groyser yidisher teater-yom-tov bay der vilner trupe, "Unzer ekspres," Warsaw, 14 November 1929.

  • D. Berezovsky-- Oyf a yidishn kultur-yom tov in bialystok, "Unzer grodner ekspres," 13 November 1929.

  • Chanan [Pesakh Kaplan]-- Yidgshtot. Di ershte oyffirung fun di vilner in bialystok, "Naye lebn," Bialystok, 15 November 1929.

  • Elchanan Zeitlin-- "Yidgshtot," "Unzer ekspres," Warsaw, 29 November 1929.

  • M. Goldman-- "Yo"t indervokh, "Naye leben," Bialystok, 12 November 1929.

  • Nachman Maisel-- Aaron zeitlins drame "Yidn-shtot" bay der vilner trupe, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, N' 46, 1929.

  • [--]-- A shmues mit aaron zeitlin, dort, N' 47, 1929.

  • H.M.-- Vilner trupe. "Yidn-shtot" fun aaron zeitlin, "Lodzer arbeter," N' 28, 1930.

  • Moshe Blecher-- Di vizie fun getoknekhtshaft, "Yidishe vort," Krakow, N' 2, 1930.

  • Yehuda-- "Yidnshtot" fun a. zeitlin, rezhi: m. weichert, oyfgefirt durkh di "vilner," "Lodzer veker," N' 30, 1930.

  • Yosef Perl [Dr. Max Weinreich]-- A naye interesante piese fun amoligen yidishen leben oyfgefirt in vilne, "Forward," N.Y., 11 January 1930.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni-- A nayer dramaturg, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 21 February 1930.

  • Sh. Niger-- Untergang un oyfgang, "Der tog," N.Y., 23 February 1930.

  • I.M. Neiman-- Di vilner in varshe, "Haynt," Warsaw, 31 October 1930.

  • Rukhl Auerbach-- "Yidn-shtot" fun aaron zeitlin, "Morgn," Lemberg, 10 May 1930.

  • M.B. [Moshe Broderzon]-- "Yidn-shtot" fun aaron zeitlin, "Nayer folksblat," Lodz, 15 July 1930.

  • Melech Ravitch-- Berner--A tragedye fun aaron zeitlin, "Fraye arbeyter shtime," N.Y., 3 January 1930.

  • Yankev Botoshansky-- Shmuesn mit yidishe shriftshteler, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 15 July 1931.

  • Dr. A. A-tsh-- Ven kleyne mentshelekh nemen zikh tsu groyse temes," "Di vogshol," Warsaw, 1931, pp. 39-44.

  • Sh. Zaromb-- Amol in a yubl, "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, N' 14-15, 1931.

  • Aaron Zeitlin-- Vegn "jakob jakobson" un andere zakhn, dort, N' 17, 1931.

  • B. Karlinius-- Mn htsd, "Moment," Warsaw,  27 March 1931.

  • Kh.Sh. Kazhdan-- Der hamlet fun di nalevkes, "Vokhnshrift," Warsaw, N' 3, 1931.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni-- Di gotloze velt, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 26 June 1931.

  • I. Rapoport-- Historishe geshtaltn in der yidisher drame, "Vokhnshrift," Warsaw, N' 10, 11, 1931.

  • A retsenzent-- Tsvey retsenzies, dort, N' 14, 1931.

  • A. Damesek-- Der natsional-fashizm in der yidisher literatur fun poyln, "Der shtern," Minsk, N' 10-11, 1932.

  • Stefan Pomer-- Der poylisher akhasuerus, "Moment," Warsaw, 1 September 1933.

  • [--]-- Aaron zeitlin vegn zayn nayer piese "chelmer hakhokhem," "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, N' 8, 1933.

  • Yakov Kirshenbaum-- "Di khelmer hakhokhemim" in kunst-teater, "Morning Journal," N.Y., 11 October 1933.

  • Kh. Ehrenreich-- Der inhalt fun di naye piese "khelmer hakhokhemim," "Forward," N.Y., 20 October 1933.

  • Ab. Kahan-- "Khelmer hakhokhemim" fun aaron zeitlin in moris shvarts's kunst teater, dort.

  • Ab. Kahan--"Piesen khdi tsu zen," dort, 3 November 1933.

  • Sh. Niger-- Di komedye fun galut, "Unzer ekspres," Warsaw, 26 October 1934.

  • M Fuksman-- "Veytzman der tsveyter," Meshundike utopye fun a yidsihen shreiber, "Haynt," Riga, 17 August 1934.

  • I. Rapoport-- A muster fun kinsterlisher instinktlozikeyt, "dos fraye vort," London, 21 September 1934.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig-- "Album of the Yiddish Theatre," N.Y., 1937, pp. 10, 23.

  • M. Osherowitz-- Aaron zeitlin, a gast in amerike, "Forward," N.Y., 20 February 1939.

  • Sh. Niger-- "A vize in tsukunftland," "Der tog," N.Y., 3 August 1939.

  • Nakhman Maisel-- Di zeks premirte kinstler, "Yidishe kultur," N.Y., N' 3, 1939.

  • Gershon Pomerantz-- "Zamlbikher," "Yidishe kultur," N.Y., N' 8, 1939.

  • Sh. Niger-- Humor in keynem's land, "Tog," N.Y., 20 August 1939.

  • Shmuel Rozhansky-- Teater-retsenzies, "Da"ts," Buenos Aires, 24 March 1940.

  • David Licht-- In keynems-land, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 28 June 1940.

  • Shmuel Rozhansky-- Teater-retsenzies, "Di yidishe tsaytung," Buenos Aires, 7 July 1940.

  • Hillel Rogoff-- Aaron zeitlin's "ester'ke," in moris shvarts's kunst teater, "Forward," N.Y., 25 October 1940.

  • Nakhman Maisel-- Yidishe geshikhte un di yidishe literatur, "Yidishe kultur," N.Y., N' 2, 1940.

  • M. Bistritsky-- "Ester-ke" in der oyffirung fun yidshen kunst-teater, "Fraye Arbeter Shtime," N.Y., 25 October 1940.

  • Ab. Goldberg-- Mayn tsugang tsu "esterke," "Nyu-yorker vokhnblat," 22 November 1940.

  • Yoel Entin-- A sezon yidisher kunst teater, "Der yidisher kemfer," N.Y., 7 March 1941.

  • Khaim Ostrovsky-- Haynt avent erste farshtelung fun "in keynem's land" in poblik hal's kleinem teater, "Di yidishe velt," Cleveland, 11 May 1941.

  • Yakov Botoshansky-- Tsvishn yo un nayn, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 30 May 1957.

  • J. Botoshansky-- Teater-khranik, dort, 2 June 1957.

  • Shmuel Rozhansky-- Shtrikhn, "Da"ts," Buenos Aires, 31 may 1957.

  • Fue Presentada "Esterke" de A. Zeitlin Bajo la Direction de Maurice Schwartz, "Amaneger," Buenos Aires, June 3, 1957.

  • Frances Schwartz Esta Noche Estrena "Esterke," del Poeta Aaron Zeitlin, "Amaneger," Buenos Aires, May 31, 1957.

  • Michael Weichert-- "Zikhronus," Tel Aviv, 1961, Tsveyter band, pp. 130, 156, 161-64, 188, 198-99, 207-09, 121-13, 341-42.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3647.

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