Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


   Zalmen Zylbercweig

Born on 27 September 1894 in Ozorkow, near Lodz, Poland.

His father was a merchant, a  cultured man, who had written from time to time in "Hatsfirah(?)" and in 1907 published weekly feuilletons under the pseudonym of "Tzvi"h" in the "Lodz nachrichten (News)," from which he became an unofficial co-editor. In 1896 he took the family over to Lodz. There Z. studied in the rooms of cheders. As a child he was popularly known in the city as "Shiri-tsoyn-zinger (Songs-Score-Singer)."

In 1905 he worked in the first local modern Yiddish bookstore of his father, where he surrounded himself with Hebrew, Yiddish and translated European literature.

Afterwards he studied songs for a half-year, worked a short time as a laborer on a farm in Czestochowa and studied privately with a teacher and became a trade employee in various activities.

In 1910 he made his debut under the pseudonym of  "Solomon" with a translation in the "Lodz morgenblat" and various other editions. Following an inclination and to the theatre, Z. soon attended to his first Yiddish theatre translation for a live-action "Kean." Later he participated in the Hebrew, afterwards in Yiddish "amateur" production, and in 1912 found in 1912 an "amateur" circle, according to the names, afterwards named "Lida", in which he conducted and acted in Lodz and


throughout the Polish provinces, together with his wife Miriam, in Hebrew and Yiddish, until 1918.

In 1912 in Lodz's Circus Theatre (Director G. Lipowski and Julius Adler), the German farce operetta "Robert and Bertrand" was listed as Z.'s translation.

In 1913 Z. worked as the theatre-translator in the Lodz Skala Theatre, which had him listed for: "Kean" ("Kean" or "Genya and Leydenshaft"), a play in five acts by A. Dumas (father), Lodz, 1913, page 100, 16, "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare, "Samson and Delilah" by Sven Lange and "Di ongeshtekte" by Brie.

Z. had also translated "A mame" by M. Kuznitski (listed through Z.'s troupe), "Der anderer" by Paul Lindau (listed through Z.'s  M.D. Waxman in Lodz's Grand Theatre), "Hinter moyern (Hidden ...)," a play in four acts by H. Nathanson (publisher "Central", Warsaw, 1922, pg. 102, 16, listed in Lodz's Grand Theatre, Directors Waxman-Adler), "Farbrekhn un shtrof (Crime and Punishment)," according to the Russian dramatization of Dostoyevsky's novel (listed through Julius Adler in Lodz's Grand Theatre), "The Tayvl-froy", a tragedy in five acts by Karl Shenherr (acted through G. Zaritska over the Polish province), "Yohanisfeyer," a drama in four acts by Herman Sudermann (listed through Morewski, 1922, p. 78, 16, listed in Warsaw's Central Theatre) and the [noch] not played "Dfroy vorends progresye", a comedy in four acts by Bernard Shaw, "Di farlibte," a drama in three acts by Wm. Grubinsky, "Geyster", a drama in three acts by Henryk Ibsen, and also in Hebrew" "Hnudr hntsch," some of Herman Heyerman's (publisher "Habima", Lodz 1917), that was played in various cities.

Z. edited the play: "Eyn gemakhter man" by Yakobson [which is in the edition of Y. L. Boimvol acted which became all
B. S.' comedy also known as "Lebedik un lustik"], "Der yiddsiher revolutsioner," a melodrama according to Markowitz (staged by Waxman in Lodz's Grand Theatre), "Zi," according to Paul Lindoym's "Der anderer" (staged by Ester RuKhl Kaminska in Lodz's Dramatic Theatre), and had dramatized (together with his brother Nathan) L. Shreiber's novel "Di shreklekhe sudut" (staged in 1914 in the Lodz's Skala Theatre). He had also written of a one-acter "Udoy(?)" (listed in 1912 in Lodz's Polish Theatre), "Poznanski and Kon," a local comedy in two acts (listed in 1924 in Lodz's Skala Theatre through Kompaneyets' troupe), and the melodrama (on foreign suites?): "Mit farmakhte oygen" (listed through his troupe in Zgerosh), "Man un vayb," "Di shtoltse froy," "Di farbrekher" et al.

From Z.'s one-acters there has been put into print: "Ir shvester" (also known as "Yiddish," Warsaw, 1920) in "Chrth", children's play (also known as "Unzer teater," Lodz), from the edition of one-acters: "Kleptomania" by Max Hartung, "A retsept kegen shvigers" by Diana (also known as "Yiddish", Warsaw, 1920), "Di tsvey toibe" by Mona, "A tsimer tsu fardingen" by Poplavsky and Galansky, "Di farlibte" by Orman Roza, "Alts tsulib kibe" by Gardinet, "Doktor Rubinstein", by Fredra, "Der medalion," "Noch tsvelf" by Labish, "Diana" by Hil, "Der amerikaner chatan" by Labish, "Oyf a falshn adres" by Mishel, "Dos misfarshtendnish" by L. V., "Der kenig" by Trechiv, "Libshaft iz kein brudershaft' by R. Milch and "Herkules" by Bel (published by A. Gitlin, Warsaw, 1919-21); and from the translation of one-acters: "Epizod" by Artur Shnitsler, "Amnestye" by Herman Heyermans, "Dos oybergerisene lid" by Y. Orzsheshkova, "Der teyster" by Oktav Mirbo, "Pietro Karuzo" by Roberto Brako, "Der komediant" by George Freshl (published by "Yiddish", Warsaw, 1920), "Der getsvungener tragiker" by A. Chekhov, (publisher "Unzer teater", Lodz), "Di sheyne froy" and "Der nudnik" by A. Avertshenka ("Lodz. tagenblat", 1918).

All one-acters were staged by "amateur" circles and through professional troupes.

From 1915-1924--Z. had as a co-worker and later as a co-editor of the "Lodzer tageblat" published there many critic's articles and reviews about Yiddish theatre and in 1922 redacted and edited (together with Lazar Kahan) the weekly "Theatre and Cinema." Afterwards, Z. alone redacted and edited the weekly page "Theatre and Art" and in 1923 (again together with Lazar Kahan) published the weekly page "Theatre and Art." In 1924 Z. traveled to Eretz Israel as a correspondent for the Yiddish newspaper.

A large part of  Z.'s theatre works from various periods is represented in the published book "Hinter farhang" (p. 207) "What the Yiddish actor told" (p. 72) in "Theatre Memories" (p. 106)--as Vilner mismatch(?) from B.A. Kletskin, 1928.

Z. was the collector of the material in the edition of the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre."

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. 1, pp. 1078-80.

  • Ch.Sh.K. -- Children's Literature, "Bicher-velt," Warsaw, 4-5, 1922.

  • M. Veybert --Theatre and Cinema "Bicher-velt," Warsaw, 4-5, 1922.

  • Mark Turkow --Ven m'ptrt a conkurent..., "Theatre and Art," Lodz, 10 March 1924.

  • L. Mlach -- Zalmen Zylbercweig-- "Bashafer fun der teater-entsiklopedie", "Der idisher dzurnal," Toronto, 24 April 1928.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Hintern farhang," Vilna, 1928, pp. 157-207.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Teater-zichrunus," Vilna, 1928, pp. 46-58.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Vos hob ich oyfgeton in rumenye forn leksikon fun idishn teater?, "Unzer tsayt," Kishinev, 1 Sept. 1928.

  • Yakov Vaksman -- Di heyntike akademie in teater panteon, "Lubliner tagblat," 27 July 1928.

  • Yakov Bamashansky --Tsvishn bicher un mchbrim, "Di prese," B.A., 15 February 1929.

  • Elchanan Tseytlin --Interesante goldfaden--un gordin-material, "Literarishe bleter," 41, 1929.

  • Dr. A. Mukdony-- A pekl bicher, "Morning Journal," N.Y. 13 October, 1929.

  • Jacob  Mestel --Teater-Bicher, "Morning Journal," 8 July 1929.

  • A. Almy --Teater-Zchrunut un anekdotn, "Fraye arbeter shtime," 7 March 1930.

  • Amalia Adler --Dos leben fun idisher akterishe, "Di idishe velt," Cleveland, 28, 31 October, 7, 14 November 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 784.

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