BERISH BEKERMAN (BECKERMAN) (1854-193?)
He was born in Zamość, Lublin region, Poland. He attended religious elementary school. He was orphaned at an early age, and later he worked in Warsaw as a confectioner. He sang in the choir of the Broder Singers. He later performed in Yiddish theater under the stage name of “B. Berkovitsh.” He then returned to Zamość. He also wrote novels and stories. In 1894, according to specimens from Peretses bletlekh (Peretz’s pages)—short for: Yontev-bletlekh, zhurnal fir literatur, gezelshaft, un ekonomye (Holiday pages: Journal of literature, society, and economics)—he published Der yidisher shpigel (The Jewish mirror), “a collection of various things,” part 1 (Warsaw, 1895), 64 split pages; one year later, Blumen tsum idishen shpigel (Blowers on the Jewish mirror), which he published under the pen names: Dr. Boy-besholem (Dr. Come-in-peace), Sar haofim (Chief of the bakers), Berkovitsh, and Ben-bayes (One of the household). He published “Vare ertseylungen” (True stories), such as: Reb betsalelke melamed, a varshove mayse fun hayntikn yor 1895 (Reb Betsalel, the itinerant teacher, a Warsaw story from the present year, 1895) (Warsaw, 1895), 18 pp.; Di gliklekhe hoyzen (The happy trousers) (Warsaw, 1896), 31 pp. In M. Spektor’s Hoyz-fraynd (House friend), vol. 1, he published a poem. The Kaminsky and Kompaneyets theater companies performed a play entitled Di frume merderin (The pious murderess), adapted from a work by him. They later also performed his drama (a historical operetta) Di anusim fun shpanye (The marranos from Spain). In 1914 he emigrated to the United States. In 1926 he brought out a monthly journal entitled Der griner veg-vayzer (The guide for recent immigrants), in which he published his Mendl un genendl (Mendl and Genendl) and Di gegete kale (The divorced bride). His memoirs about the Yiddish theater in Warsaw may be found in the YIVO archives. Plays by him remain in manuscript form.
Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (New York, 1931); Zilbertsvayg, Teater mozaik (Theater mosaic) (New York, 1941); Dr. Y. Shatski, Hundert yor goldfaden (A century of Goldfaden) (New York, 1941); N. Prilucki, Mame-loshn (Warsaw, 1921).