Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shlomo Zinshteyn


Z. was born on 9 May 1913 in Lublin, Poland.

His parents were employees of a leather branzhe.

He learned in a cheder, Yiddish folkshul, and on Shper's gymnasium.

In his early youth he became active in the "Hashomer Hatzair" movement, where he traveled around as a declamator and directed Dranov's "Meshuganah in shpitol". Later he produced in the Hakshurah kibbutz in a dramatic circle, and with Kibbutz "Bmelh" in Plonsk directing Wolf's play "Di gele late", Dr. Tsipur's "Oyfshtand", and also the production given in the environs. In Voltslavek Z. put on his dramatization of David Frishman's "Golem" and the play "Der arbetslozer" (by artist Samberg's repertoire), and also prevue productions.

In 1937, during his service in the Polish army, he performed with an amateur circle in Sarno, Volin, Kobrin's "Dofsyung (Der Dorfs-yung (The Child of Nature)", afterwards traveling across Poland with "word concerts" of Yiddish artistic repertoire. At the outbreak of the Second World War and the capture of Ukrainian Soviet Russia, where he had from 1939 until 1941 ran a dramatic circle in Braila, staging actual plays and scenes, and readings from Sholem Aleichem, Bergelson's "Der toyber" and Gorki's "Di muter". He also participated in a theatre contest, and he became known as an excellent recitator.


After the Nazi Occupation, he was put into the Zhitomir (Transnistria) ghetto, where he was a teacher of Jewish children and with them created small productions, especially of an Eretz Yisrael character. Also he collaborated with the partisans of each region.

After the Liberation, he came to the Bamberger camp, and there founded the Bamberger Yiddish Dramatic Studio, with which he directed their own dramatizations (from memory) of Asch's "Kiddush Hashem", Sholem Aleichem's "200,000", a revue "Tel Aviv", et al.

There Z. also helped found the newspaper "Unzer vort" (in Yiddish, at first in Latin, afterwards with Yiddish letters), where he had written images of Nazi hell, feuilletons, under the pseudonym of Ben-Ari and was literary editor. He participated in the "Landsberger newspaper" and in Munich's journal "Der letster khurbn" and traveled around with Cantor Shvimer doing concerts.

In 1947 he came to America, where he often had the opportunity to perform in better, artistic repertoire in a range of popular Yiddish "word concerts" and innovations in New York and across other American cities. In June 1951, he helped produce a dramatic group under the direction of Ben-Ari, who put on two productions.

As someone who was socially active, Z. helped found for refugees a branch (Masada Branch 403) of the Jewish National Worker's Union, of which he is the chairman.

M. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3598.

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