Guskin was in Vilna, Warsaw, Antwerp,
Brussels and Paris. He met with the representative of the
Yiddish actors in the various cities, various questions
were raised and negotiations were conducted. The Yiddish
theatre union will initially enter into all negotiations and
negotiate them after Guskin submits his report to the
union. Of course, he could not decide anything on his own
without the consent of the union.
"Being in Vilna" -- Guskin said, among
other things -- "I naturally visited YIVO. The Institute made a rare, good impression on me. Everything is done there
with love, and those who are active bring great sacrifices
for this great purpose. They do everything they can, but the
institute needs money to be able to continue with the great
and highly successful work."
As Guskin said, he will recommend to
the Actors' Union that they should support a student at YIVO for a year at their expense, and he hopes that the
Actors' Union will approve his recommendation.
As has been said, Guskin
spent a long time in Warsaw. On the question if he believes that
Maurice Schwartz will soon return to New York, he answered:
-- In my opinion, Schwartz will remain
in Europe for a long time, because he plays there with great
success. He plays I.J. Singer's "Yoshe Kalb," then "Tevye
the Dairyman," and then when I left Warsaw, he staged "God,
Man and Devil." Every time he plays for full houses. He had
twenty-seven union actors in his company, and Schwartz's
arrival in Warsaw brought in many lives there.
-- I believe -- he continued -- that
the local actors' union will thus be interested in creating
in New York an art theatre without Schwartz. In New York
there is a place for such a theatre. I will help in this
regard with everything that will be possible for me, and I
believe that the union will also support me in this.
-- In Warsaw's Skala Theatre Yiddish
theatre is played under a certain director. The actors
work part-time on wages, and part-time they work as a
cooperative. In a second theatre a Yiddish troupe
plays "reviews," and there they perform a satire of "Yoshe
-- In Warsaw I visited a theatre where
no professional actor played. This theatre stood under the
stage direction of Dr. Michael Weichert. When I saw them
play, I could not imagine that they were not "regular"
actors; They played so well and beautifully, and it was a
very pleasant experience for me.
-- There are young actors in Warsaw,
and in other cities that would very much want to come to New
York to play theatre, and they would feel happy if they
would have the possibility to do so.
Last year Guskin also was in Europe,
and when he returned he read an attack on him in the
"Moment" newspaper, because the manager of the Warsaw
Actors' Union was under the impression that Guskin, being in
Warsaw, offended the actors' union. When he is there now, he
noticed that they had no reason to come out with their
attack on him. He showed them that he was right.
Recognizing that their attack was indeed unjustified, they
made good on their mistake by including the following
statement in the newspaper:
"Explanation of Yiddish Artists' Union
"In conjunction with the current visit
by the representative of the American Yiddish Actors' Union,
Mr. Reuben Guskin, it was firmly asserted, due to false
information in our response (published in 'Moment' of 11
February 1935), to its previous report published in the
'Forward' of 25 January 1935 that Mr. Guskin seized on.
We deplore the unfounded attack on the
person of Reuben Guskin. At the same time, we declare to our
distinguished guest that the friendly relations between the
two sister organizations will continue. The upcoming meetings
will be dedicated to addressing the various important
questions and problems of the Yiddish theatre and the actor
organizations on both sides of the ocean.
Management of the Yiddish Artists'
Union in Poland."
After all, as the above statement was
printed in the same newspaper in which the attack on him
took place, Guskin officially withdrew his negotiations with
the management of the local Artists' Union. The following
questions were discussed: the guest-appearances of American
actors in Poland; about a worldwide association of the
artists' unions; about the founding of a general dramatic
school, not only for drama, but also for the operettas, and
-- But -- Guskin explained -- I can say
no concrete details about this for the time being until I
address all the issues with the union.
In the province in Poland -- he said --
several troupes play. In many cities here there are
permanent troupes. In other cities there are guest-starring
actors' troupes. They play as a cooperative.
On a question about the general
situation in Poland he said that the situation of the
Jews in this land is very sad. But he no longer wanted to
dwell on this, because the "Forward" correspondents had
written enough about the situation of the Polish Jews.
Guskin, as was already mentioned, was
also in Belgium. There he found one Yiddish theatre troupe.
Wednesday and Friday the troupe played in Antwerp, and
Sunday in Brussels. The company plays as a cooperative.
The properties are very bad, and it is difficult for the
actors to make a living. He arranged to send to Belgium
American actors, although the theatre there has come to
life. One of the American actors, Menachem Rubin, has
already traveled there, and others will later travel there
In Paris there are two Yiddish actor's
troupes. The director of one troupe is Lakhtiger, and he
pays the actors wages. The second troupe plays in a
The general situation of Yiddish
theatre in Europe is not satisfactory.
On the question of what the reason is
for this, Guskin said that he cannot stop himself about this
in detail. His plan is that the American actors' union
should help the Yiddish theatres in Paris and Antwerp with
American Yiddish actors, because the possibilities for a
permanent Yiddish theatre in both cities is very good, but
they need to have better actors who could bring it more life
and could bring in more of the public to the theatre.
This question, about whether or not
those companies should be American actors, was raised at a
conference between Guskin and Lakhtinger. Both saw an
opportunity to realize this plan.