Anita (Chana) Freundlich-Sheff
Born on 22 October 1911 in
Berlin, Germany. Father -- a chemical engineer and
architect, moved over two years later to Bendin, Poland.
She learned in the gymnasium of Jadwiga Krzhemovska and
studied music in the Katowice conservatory. In 1926 she
performed as "Shulamis", in "deytshmerish", with an
amateur group from Bendin, Sosnowiec and Dombrova.
Later, already in Yiddish, [she performed] as "Leah" in
Anski's "Dybuk" (under the direction of David Herman),
with the dramatic society "Muza", where she became more
familiar with the Yiddish language. 1927 -- acted in
Adolf Meltzer's winter theatre in Krakow, where she
performed for a season in Goldfaden and other
repertoires (together with Mr. and Mrs. Palepade,
Yitzhak Mestel, Gizi Heyden, Shlomo Pryzament, Meisel et
al), then became engaged by Polish director Henrik
Chernitski to act in Polish in "Shulamis" and "Yehudis"
in "Uriel Acosta". Later she performed in the role of "Santuzza"
in the opera "Cavalleria rusticana" (under the direction
of Prof. Binenstein and Wiener), and she then returned
to Yiddish theatre (with the actor Gershanovitsh, Sam
Adler, et al).
In 1929 F. performed in the
Katowice opera in the role of "Mimi" in "La bohème" and
"Tantutsya". At the end of 1930 she traveled with a part
of her family to other parts in Cuba, and performed for
three months in the Havana cabaret "Sans Souci", later
she went over to the Yiddish theatre troupe of Morris
Brown and Ginter, who
acted in Havana. In
1931 she traveled to America, earlier to New
York, then to her family in Los Angeles, where
she became a frequent guest on the Yiddish radio
programs of Isidore Epstein and Fannie Reinhard
and also sang for "Fox" and "Paramount" in
movies for non-singing actresses. Acting for a
certain time as a prima donna in Yiddish theatre
with Hymie Prizant (in "Figuero Play House").
In 1933 she married pianist Dave Sheff and made
a home with him in San Francisco, where she
performed in concerts and krigt a
scholarship from Prof. Krohn and Arthur Kasilia.
In 1935 she traveled with her husband to
Chicago, where she performed on the Yiddish
radio, in nightclubs and acted in Yiddish
theatre with local actors. In 1936 she performed
as a solos singer with Rose Betankur's orchestra
in Chicago in such places as the "Palmer House",
"Hotel Vudro", et al; afterwards with the
orchestra of Ramon Orias, and also gave concerts
in hospitals and prisons. 1938 -- returned to
California and settled in Oakland, where she
performed in concerts and went onto social work,
especially in the area of aid.
Since 1940 she has
returned to Los Angeles, where she often
performs in concerts, recitations, participating
in the productions with Dr. Baratov, Wendrof,
Zemach, Elihu Tenenholz, Wolf Goldfaden, Adolf
Freiman, Leo Fuchs, Chaim Toyber and Celia
Silver (acting on 18 April 1953 in the role of
"Liza" in Kobrin's "Der doktors veyber"),
singing for the U. S. A. military camps, and
Zylbercweig's Yiddish radio [program].
F. also is very
active socially, and was the secretary of Dr.
Baratov's Matzeva Committee, the David Pinski
branch of the Farband, Elihu Tenenholtz's
anniversary committee, and Esther Hirshbein-Shumiatsher's