Theater in Europe
The Minchener Jidiszer Kleinkunst Teater (MIKT) troupe
For the most part, those who were living in the
displaced persons (DP) camps after the end of World War
II were in need of whatever might lift up their spirits.
The Cultural Office of the "Central Committee for
Released Jews" organized readings and evenings of songs
for them and brought in films for all to watch. They
also brought in Yiddish theater groups to entertain.
Many of those who had worked in the creative arts before
World War II had already gone on to make their
contributions to Jewish culture outside of Europe. They
had immigrated to other countries in the decades
preceding the war and had made careers for themselves.
However, not every Jewish writer or actor did so, and a
great many of those who remained in Europe at the onset
of World War II died during the war. After the war, for
all intents and purposes, new material for the Yiddish
stage in Europe was no longer being written..
Some of those
previously involved in the Yiddish theater in Poland
decided to take the initiative, and in March 1946 they
formed their own group called the "Musikalischer
Jidischer Klajnkunst Teater" (MIKT). The Polish
government and the MIKT troupe clashed politically and
ideologically, so the new theater troupe gathered their
belongings together and with help from the "Bericha," a
Jewish Zionist escape assistance organization, in the
Spring of 1946, managed to make their way to Munchen
(Munich), Germany. When they arrived in Munchen, they
changed their name to the "Minchener Jidischer
Klajnkunst Teater." (The word "Minchener" represents
the word "Munchen" in standard German.) Here they
performed nine different Yiddish plays to appreciative
audiences who yearned to hear words once again spoken on
the Yiddish stage. Most of these theatrical productions
in the DP camps were performed in the "American Zone."
Before the group arrived, the camp had been entertained
by amateur actors whose Yiddish material consisted of
songs and other material that had to be constructed by
memory, as much of what had been previously written and
published was lost during the war. However, the MIKT had
proven material at the ready. Not only did they perform
in the DP camps, they also performed in large theatres
such as the Prince Regent Theatre in Munchen. In all it
is said that the troupe performed for more than 400,000
people during their three years of existence.
A number of directors and actors partook in these
Yiddish productions, including managing director Israel
Segal and art director and actor Israel Beker, from
Bialystok. Rakhi Berman, pictured above, acted in at
least two of the plays. He was a native of Kovno (Kaunas),
Lithuania, and he served in the resistance movement
during the war.
The MIKT troupe disbanded in 1949, many of them
immigrating to Palestine, France and the United States;
some went back to Poland..
Aleksander Bardini was an actor, director and acting
teacher. He was born in Lodz, Poland in 1913.
Yerachmiel (Rakhi) Berman acted in at least two of the
plays that MIKT produced, "Shlomo Molkho" and "The
Treasure," the latter written by the renown Yiddish
playwright Dovid Pinski.
Aleksander Bardini and Rakhi