Sunday 20 March 2016


ZALMEN-LEYB HIRSHFELD (October 3, 1902-1989)
            He was born in Stavisk, Lomzhe region, Poland.  His father died when he was ten years old.  In 1912 his family moved to Lodz.  He studied there in a Talmud-Torah, later (1923) graduating from a Hebrew high school, and later still (1925) he was studying philosophy at Warsaw University.  At the same time, he attended Dr. Weichert’s Jewish Dramatic School.  For financial reasons, he had to return to Lodz, where he studied in a Polish drama school.  Back in Warsaw once again, he studied at Dovid Herman’s theater studio.  In 1925 he became an actor.  He performed with “Vikt” (Warsaw Yiddish Art Theater), “Azazel,” and the Vilna Troupe.  Before WWII he settled in Argentina, where aside from performing in theater, he turned his attention to Hebrew pedagogy.  He began writing humorous sketches in Hebrew already in his high school years.  He was a contributor to the Labor Zionist weekly newspaper Di naye tsayt (The new times) in Buenos Aires, where he published weekly articles on theatrical and art matters, on literary issues, and translations of Hebrew and Polish poetry.  He published as well in Shul-bleter (School pages) in Buenos Aires (1951).  From 1964 he was living in Israel, and he was active in Habima as well as other theaters.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidish teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; A. Tenenboym-Arzi, Lodzh un ire yidn (Lodz and its Jews) (Buenos Aires, 1956), p. 270; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 219, 262.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 220.]

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