Monday 18 June 2018


HESHL EPFELBERG (1861-June 7, 1927)
            He was born in Lomazi (Łomazy), near Biała Podlaska, Poland.  Until age sixteen he studied in the synagogue study hall.  In 1880 he settled in Warsaw.  In 1888 he staged at the “Eldorado” theater in Warsaw his first play Dovid in der viste (David in the wilderness) with Jacob Adler in the title role.  He later composed other theatrical works, such as: Esterke (Esterke), Der korbn (The victim), Der shadkhn (The matchmaker), and Der engel (The angel).  Over the course of twelve years (1888-1899), he published yearbooks entitled Epfelbergs kalendar (Epfelberg’s calender), and in it published several novellas—such as “Parnose” (A living) and “Der erets-yisroel-yid” (The Jew from the land of Israel).  He also brought out a series of Yontef bleter (Holiday sheets).  In 1906 he produced his play Der korbn at the Yiddish theater Elizeum.  From Tishre to Nisan (September-April) 1918-1919, he published an illustrated weekly newspaper Di teater-velt (The theater world), roughly twenty-four issues in all, and published there as well several articles about Sholem Aleichem and the Yiddish theater.  Of his theatrical works, those published in book form include: Dovid in der viste, oder golyes haplishti, historishe operete in finf akten mit tsvelf bilder (David in the wilderness, or Goliath the Philistine, a historical operetta in five acts with twelve scenes) (Warsaw, 1888), 64 pp.; Esterke, drama in finf akten mit nayn bilder, nokh farsheydene kveln (Esterke, a drama in five acts with nine scenes, from various sources), adapted by H. Epfelberg (Warsaw, 1890), 79 pp.; Der korbn, drame in fir akten (The victim, a drama in four acts) (Warsaw, 1910/1911), 124 pp.; Der shadkhn, operetta in eyn akt (The matchmaker, an operetta in one act) (Warsaw, 1907), 30 pp.  In 1921 he moved to the United States.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Y. Shatski, Geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (History of Jews in Warsaw), vol. 3 (New York: YIVO, 1953), pp. 272-74, 317; Dr. A. Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1955).
Yankev Kahan

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