Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shlomo Naumov


Born on 9 April 1898 in Odessa, Ukraine, into a not-well-off family. His father was a man of music and composer of many Chasidic melodies. In 1909 he began to learn solfeggio with popular music and the conductor Garbarsky, at the same time learning in the Odessa Talmud Torah under the auspices of Mendele Mokher Sefarim and M. Kleinman. There he also became "a solo singer" and the oldest in the "Knabn-chorus". In 1910-12 he acted in children's roles in the troupes of Kaminski, Genfer, Lipovski, Rappel and Sharavner, and at the same time also performed in "children's concerts" in various cities, and he studied music with the theatre musicians Yakovkin Hochberg, Sandler, Vinokur et al.

From 1912-14 he learned in the Odessa city school of Afrti and at the same time sang in the Shalashener, small Prikatshshiker and high schools, and in the troupes of Rappel and then of Kurik.

In 1915-16 he toured with a Russian troupe. In 1916-17 -- he served in the military and directed with the dramatic section of the officer's club in Volsk (on the Volga). In 1917 he entered into the first Yiddish conservatory of Pinye Minkovsky. In 1919 he served in the Red Army, distributing the natsminderheytn from bandit attacks. At the same time he participated in the founding of many worker's clubs and dramatic sections in Poltava and the Donner region.

In 1920 he was co-founder of the Jewish state theatre "Kunst-vinkl (Art's Corner)" in Kiev, where he acted for several years. In 1925 he traveled to Argentina, where he participated in the local Yiddish theatre, and in his struggle against the "Tmayim".


Here he also founded and directed the first worker's children's theatre in Argentina. Then he found and directed the worker's theatre studio with the worker's club "Spartak" in Buenos Aires.

In 1928 he arrived in Europe and acted in the Yiddish theatres of Poland, England, Lithuania, France, Latvia and Romania, most of the time together with his brother, the well-known Rudolf Zaslavsky. N. composed music and songs for Gottesfeld's "Parnasah", for Molnar's "Der teyvl", for "Tuviya der milkiger" and An-ski's "Der dybuk", as well as various songs and declamations, which were performed by Yiddish actors.

In the beginning of the third year, when in Danzig there found a significant number of Eastern European Jews, which the German Jews had mockingly called "Ostyuden", in 1933-34 Rudolf Zaslavsky and, together with his brother N. and his wife, created a Yiddish theatre, which had in the winter months played once a week. Although he also used to, from time to time, come to guest-star with other actors, they remained the backbone of the theatre. The repertoire was headed by "Dybbuk", "Grine felder" "Koldunye, "Sacrifice of Isaac", et al. The plays, which had been strongly excluded in theatre halls, the others in the so-called, according the German system, beer halls, local association with a stage.

N. also had staged there Sholem Aleichem's "200,000", where he acted in the role of Shimele Soroker, and his wife as Ettie Meni.

Y. Koyl, according to the information about this, remarked:

"I don't remember the name of his wife because she had her maiden name, or perhaps quite a pseudonym. She was very lovely, a blonde woman, almost an Irish appearance, mainly a very gifted and subtle artist. He was bright, whether in dramatics, or in the comical, in vaudeville he possessed a specific antic: a three-string instrument with which he used to play beautiful things".

We must assume  that both were killed somewhere by the Nazis.

Sh. E. from Jacob Koyl.

  • "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre", New York, Warsaw, 1934, Vol. II, pp. 1383-84.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4843.

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