Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Abraham Zygielbaum


Born on 12 September 1915 in Krasnistov (Krasnystaw), Lublin Gubernia, Poland, into a family of ten children. His father passed away in his middle years, and Z. took up the burden of earning income, as a cutter. The mother, who was very musical and theatrically inclined, as such, the family moved over to, where she was called "the mother of the theatre". Thus the desire for the theatre came later to some of the children who [then] associated themselves to the Yiddish theatre.

Z. learned in Chelm in a cheder and yeshiva, as well as courses in a secular school. In the beginning of his twentieth year, he moved the entire family over to Warsaw, where Z. completed the Yiddish "Tsisha" school, learning in a Jewish-Polish gymnasium, where he acted in the school productions and entered into the Yiddish dramatic school, under the auspices of Jacob and Sara Rotbaum and Max Viskind, where he participated in "In polish oyf der keyt" and Bergelson's "Der toyber". After going away for the first two to Russia, Z. took over the management of the school and directed with the graduates of the school and with dramatic studios across the province "in Polish oyf der keyt", "Der toyber", and "Bunt in oysbeserungs hoyz".

Z. also used to travel with word concerts across the Polish province, and at the end of 1938 he staged in Warsaw's "Novoshtshi" Theatre "200,000" (performing in the role of "Kopl"), Dance -- Yehudis Berg.


In 1946 Z., together with Sivak from the "Yung Theatre", created the "Emkh" Theatre of the rescued refugees, and there staged Kadya Molodovsky's "Martsepanes", "Khabne" by Sholem Aleichem, et al [for details about "Teater Emkh", see Norbert Horowitz's work "Yiddish theatre of the Sharit Hplith"  in "Fun noentn ebr", first volume]. At the same time, Z. also traveled with the dancer Shoshana Kornblit, and by himself, with word concerts, across the camps of Feldanfing, Munich, Stuttgart, where he also directed with children's productions in Yiddish.

In 1947 Z. was brought by the "Jewish Workers Committee"  to America, where he performed with word concerts in New York, performing with the children of the middle school for the Sholem Aleichem schools, Peretz's "Bontshe shveyg", participating in the summertime in Camp "Boyberik", and the programs and traveled out to Los Angeles, where he settled. Here he staged with the L. A. Yiddish middle school "Martsepanes", "Bontshe shvayg", staging Sholem Aleichem stories and a group dance "Shabbat". In L. A. Z. also often performed with word concerts.

Z.'s brothers: the kdush Arthur had manifested a great interest in Yiddish theatre, had acted with amateurs, and was married to the actress Manya Rosen; Israel had acted in Poland with amateurs and acted with amateurs and professionals in South Africa, where he lived, Pinie [mistakenly given in Sh. Katsherginski's book "The Destruction of Vilna", p. 225, as Pinie Zigelman, killed by the Nazis], Feivel and Reuben, who was found in South Arica, having acted in Wawrsaw's "Yung teater".

M. E. 

  • Norbert Horowitz -- Yidish teater fun der sharit hplith, "Fun noentn ebr", New York, 1955, pp. 153-56.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2376.

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