Classic Yiddish Actor
The actor and director Abraham Morewski was born on March 18, 1886. Morewski is best known today for his performance as the Mirepoler Rebbe in the 1937 Yiddish film classic The Dybbuk.
Morewski toured the Russian theater world for 8 years before returning to his hometown of Vilna in 1918 and beginning a career in the Yiddish theater. He formed theater troupes, acted and directed in cities around Poland and Germany. Morewski spent the war in the USSR and in the 1950s joined the State Jewish Theater of Warsaw.
Abraham Morewski was born Avrom Menaker, the family name came from their traditional profession as ritual meat cleaners. Morewski received both a traditional Jewish and secular education and studied in Odessa until the 1905 pogrom, after which he returned to Vilna.
18 March 1886 – 3 October 1964
The modernist aesthetic in practice. A shot of the Vilna Troupe's 1920 performance of Der Protsentnik.
Morewski, shown in costume for a production of Hamlet.
The Yiddish Exorcist
Morewski reprised his role as the Miropoler Tsadik for the 1937 The Dybbuk.
He then studied at the Russian language Suworin Theater School in St Petersburg, graduating in 1910. He spent the next eight years touring Russian theaters before returning to home.
When Morewski returned to his hometown in 1918 he was returning to one of the major developing centers of Yiddish cultural life. The Vilner Trupe, an all Yiddish theater troupe, had been founded in 1915 and Morewski quickly became one of their most popular actors. The Vilner Trupe was credited with raising the level of quality of Yiddish theater throughout interwar Poland.
Morewski’s debut role in Yiddish theater was in a production of A. Weiter’s Der Shtumer (The Mute). His other celebrated roles included the Miropoler Tsadik in Sh. An-ski‘s play The Dybbuk, and the eponymous role of the old duke in Alter Kacyzne’s play The Duke. Morewski also translated works of Russian and German theater into Yiddish and starred in productions of them, including Leonid Andreyev’s He Who Gets Slapped and Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death.
In 1937 Morewski reprised his role as the Miropoler Tsadik for the film version of Sh. An-ski’s play, The Dybbuk, directed by Michał Waszynski. Morewski managed to survive World War Two in the Soviet Union, in exile in the Central Asian Republics. In 1945 he finally returned to Vilnius and began acting again in Russian. In 1956 he moved to Warsaw and joined Ida Kamińska’s State Jewish Theater there.
Morewski died in Warsaw on October 3, 1964.