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Yiddish Theater in Europe

The Minchener Jidiszer Kleinkunst Teater (MIKT) troupe
1946
Munchen, Germany

 

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..

Rakhi Berman, actor

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.
 

 

Rakhi Berman Aleksander Bardini and Rakhi Berman

After the War

Rakhi Berman and Rokhl Antupitska
in "Shlomo Molkho"


1946
Munchen, Germany




Rakhi Berman
in "Shlomo Molkho"


1946
Munchen, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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