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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  M. DRANOV


Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE;
aS FEATURED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S  "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"


VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City

 

M. Dranov
[Mordecai-Dovid Rozenblat]


After 1915 we find him acting in Warsaw's "Venus" Theatre with Shtrasfogel, already not under his proper name, but under the stage name "Dranov."

Jonas Turkow remarks about this:

"Dranov, who had copied and imitated the great Yiddish actor Natan Dranov, even took his name for a pseudonym."

Sigmund Turkow writes that during the First World War, when the Germans had occupied Warsaw, all the Yiddish "illusionists" (movie theatres), there would appear troupes from several professional and so-called "wartime actors." In the cinema on Jelne 1, a troupe began to play under the direction of the actor Bennie Abelson and L. Shtrasfogel.

"Their fellow players came from  a series of 'war actors, with the 'imitation Dranov,' at the top. The 'imitation Dranov' was a lesser one, brighter, healthy young man with a head of dark hair and burning eyes. He spoke with a tight bass, with which he was even more successful in immersing in, so that he would be similar to the "truth" of Dranov's voice.

The "true" N. Dranov, a splendid dramatic actor, during the First World War, had stormed into Warsaw with his "intrigues" and "dramatic resonance." The "imitation" had indeed led to the choosing his name for his pseudonym. The older actors were very bothered when a snooty person was allowed to profit from one of their colleagues hard-earned "labels.". From then on they would tolerate him only because of his acting abilities. 

Grishe Rotsein maintains that D. did not make it easy to use the name of the "Great Dranov," but it turned out that it was wise. He is -- according to Rotstein's opinion -- he was a greedy Chasid, an admirer of the deceased actor Nathan Dranov, and decided to forge his name by keeping it on the stage.

D. virtually did not use to play in any legitimate troupes, but in small itinerant troupes across the small Jewish neighborhoods of Poland. Later he also had participated in the "Grodner troupe" from there.

According to his membership card, which one can find in the archives of "Lukhmi Hagitut," one can see his effective name, and that he was taken in as a member of the Professional Yiddish Actors' Union in Warsaw on 21 April 1920.

During the Second World War, he had wandered across the areas that the Soviets had occupied, and in 1940 had co-acted with the Movable Yiddish War Theatre [Baveglekhn yidishn melukha-teater] for the western areas.

According to the actor Zalmen Koleshnikov, K. on the first Seder night in 1940, was forced to perform, and the next morning he received the news that an actor, who was not feeling well, wanted to see him. Koleshnikoff immediately went away from this noticeable place, and there it happened that D. wept and screamed , "I am blind." It had come out, that he truly and suddenly became blind. We soon called a doctor, and we had taken him to the Grodno hospital. There after a short time he became entirely paralyzed. Actors who used to travel to Grodno to play, or even only to travel through the city, It was time to visit him. The last news, that he was assured that his condition was hopeless.

According to the actor Sheftel Zak, the Nazis captured him in the hospital, when they took Grodno, and they killed him.


M. E. from Grishe Rotstein, Zalmen Koleshnikov; Sh.E. from Sheftel Zak.

  • Zigmunt Turkow -- "Fragments of My Life," Buenos Aires, 1951, p. 81.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4358.
 

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