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The Zylbercweigs
The Yiddish Radio Hour



Celia (Silver) Zylbercweig  


  Zalmen Zylbercweig


This Month's Rebroadcast

filled with world and local news, commentary and song

Original Broadcast Date:


Circa 1964

Yosele Mlotek interviews Zalmen Zylbercweig
for his WEVD Arbeter Ring radio program


Listen to the Radio Program

 Just turn on your speakers, click on the microphone icon and the sound recording should begin!


Summary of Radio Program Contents, Commentary and News:

Yosl Mlotek welcomes his listeners to the Saturday evening show in the same time, which gives itself over to the world of Yiddish.

In the world of art we will have a chat with the well-known writer Zalmen Zylbercweig, in honor of his new book “The World of Jacob Gordin” and will hear excerpts of Yiddish theatre later.

Announcements for Sunday concert of one hundred and ten children graduating from Arbeter Ring shul, and that the Arbeter Ring camp in Sylvan Lake is open for the season.

Mlotek reintroduces Zalmen Zylbercweig by stating that his work on Yiddish theatre [contains] much of what we know... Forty or fifty years of his life Zylbercweig has given over to this work in service of the Yiddish theatre, says the Arbeter Ring. He was close to the Yiddish theatre to envelope the Jewish people in the culture of Yiddish.

Mlotek tells Zalmen Zylbercweig that he has looked into his book and knows that this is not his first book, and what were your earlier books?

Zalmen Zylbercweig thanks Mlotek and compliments him on the news about the one hundred and ten Workmen's Circle graduating students. He agrees that it is not his first book (it is his tenth), and he enumerates his other books including Theater Mosaic, Behind the Curtain, the Goldfaden Jubilee book and of course his Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre.

 Some of the dialogue to the program:

YM: Will talk about that later, but back to Jacob Gordin; so given the adage that a name must mean something, why the title The World of Jacob Gordin?

 ZZ: Gordin immersed himself in Shakespeare, who said that, and that the book title was not just about the life of Jacob Gordin but the world in which he created it, as he existed at the peak of Jewish life, that is the sweep of the book not only in both Gordin's personal and public life, but also the press, the actors and the critics of his time and the voices of the working people who loved his works during an epoch that has become entirely lost but can now be relived.

YM: You are right. We are hoping that many people will feel the same way who lived through that world, but I, who did not, was also caught by that world. Thank you much friend Zylbercweig for all your books and histories.

ZZ: I will tell you that I gave a lecture on this subject for the Arbeter Ring and the National Workers Organization and for others like you who did not live through this. This was a gift just as I am hoping your listeners can also be brought into this lost world.

YM: Speaking of this lost world we will now hear from the beloved and famous Dovid Kessler, who sings “Mizmor L’Duvid” from "God, Man and Devil" of Jacob Gordin, which was taken from Miriam Kressyn’s theatre album.

So, what else have you brought, Zalmen Zylbercweig, from your warm and lovely home in Los Angeles?

ZZ: I have a love for the Yiddish theatre, which is made even stronger when connected to a holy purpose.... are like a monument to the murdered Yiddish actors, there is no monument to them. This edition of the Lexicon (Vol. 5 -- ed.) will be that eternal monument to the three hundred and twenty1 Yiddish actors and actresses murdered by Hitler. Every Jew who loves the Yiddish word knows these spirits should be honored. Yiddish theatre was a people’s institution, and so a monument should honor the wide swath of the everyday people.

YM: Yes, I was at the conference: scholars, historians, everyday people who listened to the plan, Max Bozyk, Seymour Rechtzeit, and all quietly blessed you and thanked God we had a Zalmen Zylbercweig. You have done great things.

ZZ: With the help of the Workmen’s Circle.

YM: We are here to help you, to be your hands and are certain that our listeners are excited. This is a great work: composers, writers –- Gebirtig was among them –- this will remain an eternal remembrance. Return home safely, Zalmen Zylbercweig, and I am sure people will help you in this glorious work.

ZZ: A heartfelt thanks.

YM: Let us now end the show with a fragment of a piece from Yeshiva Bokher by Boris Thomashefsky, “Kaddish.”


1 -- In the end, four hundred and ninety-seven biographies were included in the Lexicon's memorial fifth volume.

Credits: The estate of Zalmen Zylbercweig, and WEVD/Forward Association. Synopsis by Henry Sapoznik.

next: WEVD, Seymour Rechtzeit and Miriam Kressyn, Sept. 1982 >>




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