Monday, 16 November 2015


LEON DUSHMAN (b. April; 12, 1886)
            He was born in Vilna.  In 1907 he was working as a prompter in the Yiddish theater in Paris, later in Belgium and in England.  In 1912 he was assistant director of a Yiddish theater in London.  In 1913 he emigrated to Argentina, later returning to London.  In 1917 he left for Russia and there worked as a director and actor.  Over the course of the years 1923-1925, he worked in workingmen’s clubs in Minsk as the leader of dramatic circles.  In 1924 he composed a play, entitled Etl geyt in “zhenotdel”, and it was staged in the Minsk workers’ clubs.  He also translated one-act plays and dramatized stories for the dramatic circles.  He published in periodical publications materials on the history of Yiddish theater in Shtern (Star) 1-4 (1926), and prepared a book entitled Zikhroynes vegn yidishn teater in rusland (Memoirs of the Yiddish theater in Russia).  From 1925 he spent several years as secretary of the Yiddish section of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences in Minsk.  In subsequent years, he was style editor for the Minsk daily newspaper Oktyaber (October).  He collected, adapted, and published folksongs and folklore materials.  Since WWII, Dushman’s fate has remained unknown.  Among his books and longer works: “A. goldfaden in minsk” (A. Goldfaden in Minsk), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) (Warsaw) 95 (1926); “Iz dos yidishe teater gegrindet gevorn in varshe?” (Was the Yiddish theater founded in Warsaw?), Literarishe bleter 13 (1928); “Fun l. dushmans folks-lider-zamlung” (From L. Dushman’s folksong collections), Tsaytshrift (Periodical) (Minsk) 2-3 (1928); “Materyalen tsu der geshikhte fun yidishn teater in vaysrusland” (Materials toward the history of Yiddish theater in Byelorussia), Afn visnshaftlekhn front (On the scientific front) (Minsk) 7-8 (1935), pp. 162-94, with images; Stalin in der yidisher folks-shafung (Stalin in the Jewish people’s creativity), together with M. Grinblat (Minsk, 1939), 95 pp.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1, p. 548; M. Myodovnik, “Mayne teater-zikhroynes” (My theatrical memoirs), Arkhiv (Vilna) (1930), p. 509.

Aleksander Pomerants

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