Lives in the Yiddish Theatre



"PIAT" [Parizer yidisher arbeter-teater (Paris-Yiddish Workers Theatre)] was organized in 1933 by the progressives of the Eastern Europe immigrant, Jewish workers in Paris, with the purpose of elevating the state of Yiddish theatre and developing the Yiddish theatre arts among the broader masses.

Exploiting the situation, after the guest-starring appearance of the "Vilna Troupe" in Paris, several of the actors from the troupe remained there and "PIAT" engaged as regisseur and actor Jakob Kurlender of the "Vilna Troupe" who staged several one-acters with the group.

The second regisseur of "PIAT", who was also a member of the "Vilna Troupe", A. Y (Jakob) Mansdorf, stage directed the offering "Shrey, Khine", a program of Tretyakov's play "Shrey in oysbeserungs-hoyz".

Also the third regisseur of "PIAT", David Licht, was a member of the "Vilna Troupe". He staged in the summer of 1937, "Dos far'khishuf'te shnayderl" [built around Sholem Aleichem's "A mesh on an ek", according to the direction of Jakob Shternberg], I. L. Peretz's " In polish oyf der keyt" (music -- H. Berlinski, dance -- Jan Arlen), and on 14 October 1937 M. Kulbak's "Boytre".

David Bergelson's "Der toyber" (The Simchas Torah Feast), staged by Jacob Rotbaum in Paris' "Piat".
(First row: Kaner, Sh. Mirels, A. Fuks, A. Abramovitsh, Y. Shtorkh and Enden.
Second row: L. Lenski, L. Troyonavski, A. Lipinski and Kh. Flam).

In 1938 Jacob Rotbaum was engaged as the regisseur and staged: on 1 November 1938, in the "Antreop" Theatre, David Bergelson's "Broytmil" (settings by Andre Pronashko); on 15 January 1939, in "Key Valmi", H. Leivik's "Di oreme melkukha" (settings by Borvin-Frenkl), and in April 1939, in the "Lankri" Theatre -- "Yidishe glikn" [according to "Luft-parnoses" by F. Arones] (settings -- Chaim Kalman, music -- Herman Berlinski, songs -- L. Litvak and dance -- Elza Beker).

During the time of the "folks-front" in France, the name of the theatre, not changing the middle initials, became known as "Parizer yidisher avagard-theater (Paris-Yiddish Avant-Garde Theatre)".

The membership of "PIAT" consisted of the following workers and craftsmen: men -- Abramowitz, Breyer, Herman, Tenenbaum, Lensky, Endin, Fuks, Tsimlikh, Kipnis, Kinman, Jack Konar, Kimelfeld, Rothstein, Stark and Simeon Mirels. Women -- Anka, Rivka Gomer, Tankel, Sokol, Flam and Klos.

After their premières, the productions used to travel over to theatres or other locations, and also took place during the first months of the World War, even with the light regulations against air raids ("blackouts") in Paris. When the largest part of the male personnel was mobilized into the army, the productions were interrupted once in February 1940.

M. E. from Jacob Rotbaum.

  • Yankev (Jacob) Botoshansky -- Tsvishn forhang un leyvnt, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 25 June 1937.

  • "Ershter alveltlekher yidisher kultur-kongres" [Paris, 1937], pp. 201, 209.

  • Irma Kanfer -- Zydowski Teatr Awangardu w Paryzu, "Chwila", Krakow, 15. IV. 1938.

  • T. Elski -- A geshprekh mit yankev rotbaum, dem nayem rezhiser fun "piat", "Naye prese", Paris, October 1938.

  • Yankev Rotbaum -- Bergelsons "broytmil" in "piat", "Naye prese", Paris, 27 October 1938.

  • T. Elski -- Ven rotbaym rezhisirt di "broytmil", dort.

  • A. Galitsian -- "Broytmil" in "piat", "Naye prese", Paris, 1 November 1938.

  • Yankev Rotbaum -- "Oreme melukhe" fun h. leivick in "piat", "Naye prese", Paris, 13 January 1939.

  • B. Meyer -- Oyf a repetitsye fun der "oremer melukhe", "Naye prese", Paris, 10 January 1939.

  • T. E--ski -- Wielki sukces rezysera Jakuba Rotbauma w Paryzu, "Nasz Przeglad", Warszawa, 25. II. 1939.

  • A. Glitsian -- "eiviks "oreme melukhe" baym "piat", "Naye prese", Paris, 20 January 1939.

  • N. Frank -- "Di oreme mlukhh", "Parizer haynt", 20 January 1939.

  • A. Galitsin -- "Yidishe glikn" in "piat", "Naye prese", Paris, 21 April 1939.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2,  page 1757.
Photograph not from Piat biography, but taken from the Lexicon, V. 5, p. 4255.

Copyright © Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.