Monday 28 September 2015



            He was born in Warsaw, brother of Zigmunt and Yonas Turkov (Turkow).  He studied in religious primary school and in the initial years of a secular high school and a teacher’s course of study.  In his youth he worked on a Pioneers’ farm in Grochów near Warsaw, served as secretary of a youth organization of the “right Labor Zionists,” and co-edited its journal Arbeter yugnt (Laboring youth).  In 1924 he began to act in Yiddish theater and was a member of the wandering troupe of Zigmunt Turkow and Ida Kaminska; later, he performed in various Yiddish theaters in Poland.  During WWII he left for Russia.  Returning to Poland after the war, he acted in Yiddish theaters, directed, was artistic director and author of scenic compositions in the Yiddish theater of Lower Silesia in Wrocław, and worked in the state Yiddish theater of Lodz and Warsaw.  He also contributed to the local Yiddish press.  From 1925 he was writing for Yiddish periodicals in Poland, primarily on matters concerning theater.  He published interviews with actors in Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Warsaw; he published in 1926 a short biography of Esther Rokhl Kaminski in Haynt (Today), Warsaw.  He wrote the following stage plays: Dos genehem (Hell) and Der korbn (The victim).  He translated into Yiddish: Baginen, tog un nakht (Dawn, day, and night); Di gril afn oyvn (The cricket on the hearth) by Charles Dickens; Di romantishe nakht fun borvits (The romantic night in Borvits); and Juliusz Słowacki’s poem Dżuma (Plague) (Warsaw: Bzhoza, 1926), 21 pp.  Among his own writings in book form: Yidish teater in poyln (Yiddish theater in Poland) (Warsaw, 1951), 199 pp.; Di mame ester rokhl (Mother Esther Rokhl) (Warsaw, 1953), 286 pp., a monograph on the life of Esther Rokhl Kaminski; and Varshe dos vigele fun yidishn teater (Warsaw, the cradle of Yiddish theater) (Warsaw, 1956), 75 pp.; Penemer un maskes, dertseylungen un skitsn (Faces and masks, stories and sketches) (Buenos Aires: Association of Polish Jews, 1960), 174 pp.; Af mayn veg, shrayber un kinstler (On my way, writer and artist) (Buenos Aires: Association of Polish Jews, 1964), 343 pp., second edition (1971); Y. l. perets, der veker (Y. L. Perets, the alarm) (Tele Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1965), 112 pp.; Sholem ashs derekh in der yidisher eybikeyt, monografye (Sholem Asch’s path into Jewish eternity, a monograph) (Bat-yam: Bet Sholem Ash, 1967), 190 pp.; Geven a yidish teater (There was a Yiddish theater) (Tel Aviv, 1968), 50 pp.; Zigmunt turkov (Sigmund Turkow) (Tel Aviv, 1970), 263 pp.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2; Y. Turkov, Azoy iz es geven (That’s how it was) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 543 pp., see index; H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (Brooklyn, 1950), p. 94; D. Sefarad, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) 12 (80) (1953); Y. Lazebnik, in Yidishe shriftn 7 (75).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 174.]

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