Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leon Zuckerberg


Born 1 December 1895 in Stryj, Galicia. His father was the owner of a restaurant-hotel, where there used to be Einstein Yiddish theatre troupes(?). He was also a prayer leader in a shul.

As a child, Z. sang in shul and used to act in children's roles. After completing a four-class gymnasium, he was "given away" to
learn photography (that then was regarded as an intelligent profession), but because of his "brown" temperament did not take to the trade), and he returned to learning and studied bookkeeping.

During the First World War he was taken into the Austrian army, where he served as a (rekhnungs-unterofitsir=accounting under-officer?), and afterwards was a migrant at the Italian-Austrian Front.

After the war he was very busy. He was manager of a Yiddish itinerant troupe (which toured) across the Galician province and he had the opportunity from time to time to act in older roles, such as those for fathers and grandfathers, but he soon changed and became a "buff-comic" and was recognized for it, and he then acted with popular, stable troupes, such as those of actors Schilling, Meltzer, Hart, Pryzament et al. He also performed in a cabaret in Krakow and played in Rumania with Sara Ettinger, Viera Kanievska and Paul Breitman.


In 1926 he immigrated to Argentina where he played as a buff-comic in character roles in the local Yiddish theatre, and established a permanent Yiddish theatre in Montevideo, Uruguay, with actors from Argentina. In 1928 he came with several members of the troupe to Texas, United States, and they played in El Paso, Dallas, Houston and Galveston. From there they went to New York, and in 1929 they were engaged at the Moshe Schorr Theatre in Baltimore (where the troupe consisted of Clara and Boaz Young, Morris and Rose Brown, Celia and Leon Zuckerberg, David Shoenholtz, A. Ostroff, Ida Goldstein, Julia Varadi, Alexander Amasye, et al.). After acting for a short time the troupe disbanded. Then came a guest-starring role with Celia Adler and Leon Blank, and afterwards Z. remained to act with a group of actors at the Brit Shalom Auditorium.

Afterwards he acted for a season in Detroit under the management of Abraham Littman (with Louis and Minnie Birnbaum, Ethel and Moshe Dorf et al, and with guest stars Joseph Shoengold, Julius Nathanson, the Germans), and due to [a state right?] in America, returned with his wife to Mexico, where he established a permanent Yiddish theatre with the local forces, and with such guest stars as Joseph Shoengold, Frances Adler, Jacob and Charlotte Goldstein, Janet Paskowitz, and Maurice Krohner, Clara Young, Betty Frank and Benjamin Blank.

G. Yud writes about him:

"Zuckerberg was among the first who came to build a Yiddish theatre here in Mexico, and as with every beginning, there were difficulties, and Zuckerberg had difficulties that came with a smile. He was a [libns-] worthy person and a well-gifted actor who had love for his profession. During the time of his acting here in the theatre, Zuckerberg had acquired a great number of friends and [farerer] "

A. P. writes:

"Leon Zuckerberg was in life as he was on the stage (where he first found the true essence of his life), rinsed with cheerfulness; his every offering from the stage boards elicits from the audience a sense of joy and his good nature. It is not without reason that he is so popular in the theatre world of Mexico."

In 1933 he again acted with his wife, the Browns, and the Gelbers in Texas, and from there with his wife went to Havana, Cuba, then returned once again to Mexico where he set himself atop the local Yiddish theatre with the Browns, the Gelbers, and the guest stars Jacob Zanger and Sylvia Fishman.

On 26 May 1935 he caught cold on the stage, and a month later, on 26 June 1935, passed away and came to his eternal rest in the Jewish cemetery of Mexico City.

A. P. writes:

"....back with a higher(?) six-year period, Zuckerberg, here in Havana for the first time, was in the Yiddish theatre on Zulueta 37. Then certainly he created the Jewish emigrant (immigrant), and from then on he was popular with them, and we say "Eyngebakn gevorn iz hartzn="Enter up is heart?"]....He was famous and popular among all the Jews in the entirety of Latin America. Hi thought was to establish a permanent Yiddish theatre between Mexico and Cuba. He had already not searched for another horizon. He knew, then he attacked the Yiddish communities, but he remained in the middle(?)"

R. writes:

"He was seldom interested in the cashbox. It was for him the greatest satisfaction when the world outside the theatre was satisfied, if either he or his colleagues was recognized(?) by the public. This had given him courage [durkhtsutrogn als materiele zorgn].

And Y. A. in an article "Pioneer of Yiddish Theatre", wrote in the "Havana Lebn (Havana Life)":

"...He came to fame, this your artist, who traveled about from country to country, and in the new communities of Central and South America. This pioneer, who had together with people who were far from home, taken the stick in hand and went on his way to bring to bear the Yiddish word onto the poor scene, which was similar to the old-known Sukkot."

In the necrology of the newspaper "Der veg", vert oybergegeben, that "although his death occurred in the middle of the week, when the greatest part of the Jewish population were at their businesses, when they had learned about the accident, they were among the close to four hundred attendees (presumably at his funeral). That was the greatest sign of their grief train, that Jewish Mexico until now had, that it showed just how deeply popular the deceased was to all."

Sh. E. by Celia Zuckerberg.

  • [--] -- L. Zuckerberg Dies, "Der veg", Mexico, 29 June 1935.

  • R. [Moshe Rosenberg] -- Leon Zuckerman z"l, same.

  • Y. A. P. -- Leon Zuckerberg's Death, "Havana lebn (Havana Life)", July 1935.

  • Nathan Ginter -- "A Few Words About my Friend Leibl Zuckerberg", Santiago, 29 June 1935.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2237.

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