Skip to main content

Turkow, Jonas, 1898-1988



  • Existence: 1898 - 1988


Yiddish Theater

Found in 8 Collections and/or Records:

Guide to the Records of the Displaced Person Camps and Centers in Italy

Identifier: RG 294.3

These records detail the history of the Displaced Person camps in Italy. They include the records of the individual camps as well as political and cultural groups that operated within the camps. The collection primarily consists of administrative records such as reports, correspondence, and lists as well as cultural materials from political, theatrical, and literary groups. There are also a large number of records of court proceedings, centering on accounting for actions taken during the Holocaust as well as the formation of new families in the DP camps.

Dates: 1945-1955

Jonas Turkow, 1921-1933

 File — Box: 37, Folder: 656
Scope and Contents From the Series:

This series contains documents from actors, singers, composers, directors, all members of the YAF in Poland. These documents include correspondence, convention delegate cards, photographs, certificates, questionnaire forms, reviews, and other materials relating to individuals.

Dates: 1921-1933

Subseries 8: Turkow, Jonas (טורקאָוו, יאָנאַס). Papers, undated, 1922-1936

Scope and Contents

This subseries contains a small amount of personal papers of Jonas Turkow, including correspondence, agreements, and clippings. The materials pertain to his theatrical career, mainly in the period 1927 to 1935, including agreements and correspondence related to his directing the Krakover Yidisher Teater (Kraków Yiddish Theater) in 1926-1927. Correspondents include Yankev Vaksman and the Yidisher Artistn Fareyn (Yiddish Actors' Union).

Dates: undated, 1922-1936

Subsubsubseries 2. Varshever Nayer Yidisher Teater (VNYT), 1929 - 1930

Scope and Contents From the Series:

This series contains materials related to performances and activities of theaters and theater troupes, organized by geographic location. Some files also pertain to a variety of local organizations that presented theatrical events and concerts, as well as organizations that promoted and supported Yiddish or Hebrew theater. The last subseries, Yiddish Theater (General) and Unidentified Materials, contains a small grouping of materials not related to specific localities, including manuscripts, clippings, and unidentified materials.

The materials in this series consist predominantly of theater programs; ephemera such as fliers, invitations, and tickets; and newspaper clippings (occasionally scrapbooks). The series contains, in all, an estimated 1700 to 1800 programs. The programs pertain to plays; revues; recitations; concerts, including cantorial concerts; dance performances; honorary evenings; and various special events of local organizations.

To a lesser extent, there are also publications and periodicals; and sometimes generic correspondence such as letters to supporters and fundraising letters, and, occasionally, manuscripts of articles about the given theater troupe, typically intended for publication in newspapers. (Some of the latter items were evidently donated by Zalman Reisen, editor of the Vilner Tog.)

The materials of the above types found under any given heading for a theater troupe, theater, or organization, are typically of mixed provenance, collected by various different individuals.

This series also occasionally includes small amounts of original records of theater troupes, such as correspondence and financial records.

Original letters from troupe members or leaders addressed to the literary historian and newspaper editor Zalman Reisen are found in the files for the Vilna Troupe (Folder 533); and "Ararat" (Folder 596). In the case of the Varshever Yidisher Kunst-Teater (VYKT), there is a small amount of original correspondence received by the troupe, including a letter from Richard Beer-Hofmann (Folder 500).

Fragmentary financial records are included for the Vilna Troupe, 1922 (Folder 538); and a ledger book for the "Baveglekher Yidisher Dramatisher Teater," 1921-1922, under the geographic heading for Warsaw (Folder 633). (According to an entry in Zylbercweig, VI: 4993, the latter troupe was founded by Jonas Turkow.)

Other notable provenance-based groupings of materials in the subseries for Poland are found under the following city headings:

Łuck (Lutsk, Ukraine): papers of the theater director Abraham Kolodny related to the "Yidishe Fraye Bine" (amateur theater), 1910-1920 (Folders 621-622), along with theater programs likely collected by him.

Brześć nad Bugiem (Brest, Belarus): a scrapbook documenting performances of the Brisker Dramatishe Studye, 1927-1929, created by M. Sarwer (Sarver), the group's artistic director, along with programs evidently collected by him (Folders 696-697).

Częstochowa: receipts of impresario N. Zolotarew related to a tour of Lidia Potocka (Folder 668).

Also noteworthy is a scrapbook pertaining to a 1934 revival of the experimental Yiddish puppet theater "Khad Gadyo" in Łódź (founded in 1922, a collaboration between and Moyshe Broderzon and the artist Yitskhok Broyner); it contains the script of the performance, photographs and clippings (Folder 615).

Troupes represented with the most substantial amounts of materials include:

In Subseries 1. Poland, under the sub-heading "Poland by Theater Troupe": Varshever Yidisher Kunst-Teater (VYKT); Varshever Nayer Yidisher Teater (VNYT); the Vilna Troupe; Yung Teater/Nay Teater; and the "Kleynkunst," or revue theaters "Azazel," "Ararat," "Sambatyon," and "Yidishe bande."

In Subseries 4, United States, the Yiddish Art Theater, New York (directed by Maurice Schwartz).

In Subseries 6, Palestine (Eretz Israel), the Hebrew theaters Habimah and Ohel, respectively.

In the case of these major theater troupes, most of the material related to them is gathered under their name heading, found under the geographic locality with which they are primarily associated; however, the materials found there also include items pertaining to their tours in other parts of the country or region, and internationally.

On the other hand, files for specific towns, cities, or countries, in general contain many programs and clippings pertaining to guest appearances of individual performers, as well as smaller ensembles and troupes, who are based somewhere else.

Clippings are generally classified according to the main topic of the article (i.e. not necessarily according to the locality where it was published).

It should be noted that throughout the series, a distinction is usually made between professional theater and concerts, on the one hand, and amateur theater, or 'dramatic circles' on the other; when materials are related to amateur groups that distinction is typically specified in the heading. The distinction is especially clear in the subseries for Poland, which includes a separate sub-subseries for Amateur Theater (this follows the scheme established by Jonas Turkow during his preliminary organization of these materials at the YIVO Institute in New York).

Finally, as background, it should be noted that the programs that form the backbone of this series in representing the troupes, theaters, and localities, were among the materials that were organized and cataloged by Jonas Turkow at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, in the late 1950s to mid 1960s. They bear stamped or handwritten item numbers (falling within the range 175167 to 177690) that Turkow assigned based on his initial sequencing of them in alphabetical order according to the names of the authors of plays (with concert programs grouped together at the end). Subequently, he selected certain programs to form groupings under peformer names (see Series II, subseries 1. Programs) and others to form groupings under the names of theater troupes and geographic headings (constituting the present series). The selection of the programs found in this series under general geographic headings, for particular towns, cities, and countries (as opposed to headings for the featured performer or director, as in Series II) thus reflects the arrangement devised by Turkow, documented in the cross-references he provided on his catalog cards for the programs. For further details, see the Scope and Content Note for Series I, Subseries 2, Programs.

Dates: 1929 - 1930

טורקאָוו, יאָנאַס / Turkow, Jonas, undated, 1916, 1927, 1934-1935

 File — Box: 45, Folder: 69
Scope and Contents

Localities: Chełm, Kraków, Lublin, Lwów (Lviv), Pińsk (Pinsk), Równe (Rivne), Siedlce, Vilna, Warsaw

Program for plays featuring Jonas Turkow, often together with Diana Blumenfeld, with Turkow directing, in one instance at the Varshever Nayer Yidisher Teater ("VNYT"), which Turkow founded. The plays include: "Tsvey Kuni Leml" by Goldfaden (with Esther Rachel Kaminska and Ida Kaminska in the cast); "Yugnt" by M. Halbe, translated by Y. Turkow; "Di perl fun Shankhay," by Yankev Vaksman; "Di rumenerin" by Louis Verneuil, translated by Jonas Turkow; "Der, vos hot zikh farkoyft" by Emile Zola, adapted by J. Turkow; "Hinkeman" by Ernst Toller, translated by B. Ezrielsohn; "Der priziv" by Mendele Moykher Sforim; "Der ungebetener gast" by Maeterlinck; "Laydnshaft" by Michal Sarbul, translated by Ch. N.; "Der oytser" by David Pinski; "Mature" and "Karyere" by Ladislaus Fodor, translated by Diana Blumenfeld; "Di sibe" by Leonhard Frank, translated by Yitzhak Turkow; "Froyds teorye fun khaloymes" by A. Cwojdziński; "Volpone, oder der tants arum gold" by S. Zweig based on Ben Jonson, translated by Ber Horowitz; "Oyfshtand" by Tsipor; and "Di gefangene" by A. Rubye (actually: Friedrich Wolf). 22 items.

Dates: undated, 1916, 1927, 1934-1935

טורקאָוו, יאָנאַס / Turkow, Jonas, undated, 1934

 File — Box: 86, Folder: 1119
Scope and Contents

Clippings of published photos, including a newspaper clipping showing a scene from the Polish film "Młody las" (Young Forest; 1934). 2 items.

Dates: undated, 1934

טורקאָוו, יאָנאַס; בלומענפֿעלד, דיאַנאַ / Turkow, Jonas; Blumenfeld, Diana, undated, 1921-1938

 File — Folder: 4864, Object: 178227-178294
Scope and Contents

Localities: Buenos Aires, Danzig, and the following towns/cities in Poland: Chełm, Jędrzejów, Kraków, Łomża, Lublin, Pińsk (Pinsk), Vilna, and Warsaw

Productions featuring Turkow, often with Blumenfeld, and typically also directed by Turkow, including plays by Gordin ("Khasye fun Karatshekrak"), Herzer ("Morfeum"), Zola ("Der vos hot zikh farkoyft"), Ernst Toller ("Hinkeman"), Boris Lavrenev ("41-ter," "Khaver Orlov"), Paul Lindau ("Prokurator Halers"), W. O. Somin ("Atentat"), Ladislaus Fodor ("Karyere," "Mature"), Leonhard Frank ("Di sibe"), Y. B. Tsipor ("Oyfshtand"), Alter Kacyzne ("Der dukus"), and Marcellus Schiffer ("10 yor un eyn sekunde"). Includes an invitation in 1926 to the newly established Krakever Yidisher Teater, under the artistic direction of Turkow. Also, items advertising the films Huragan (Hurricane), In di poylishe velder (W lasach polskich; In the Polish Woods), and Lamed-vovnik. 38 items.

Dates: undated, 1921-1938

Unzer teater - Wilno (Vilna), 1933

 File — Box: 18, Folder: 248a
Scope and Contents From the Sub-Series:

This subseries contains contracts, telegrams, lists of performers, theater tickets and invitations, finance accounts and miscellaneous materials from several theaters and acting groups, most located in the urban centers of Poland, such as Warsaw, Vilna, Lodz, Klisz, Bialystok, Lwow, and Krakow.

Dates: 1933