Jewish theater in Poland

Theater was a major cultural instrument in the early 20th century, and Especially for Jewish communities. A thriving world of theater and cabaret, professional and amateur, thrived across Jewish communities and towns.

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Taking a bow — The Częstochowa I.L.Peretz group at the end of the show

Sometimes we get a glimpse into this rich world through family stories, or pictures taken of these events, plays, theaters and groups of actors. This collection by Michał Wajs of Częstochowa, a part of the I.L Peretz amateur Jewish theater in Częstochowa – is a good example. Do you recognize the characters? The people? Let us know!

Personal portraits of the actors in character

Not related to Częstochowa are these marvelous pictures of the Association of the Jewish Theater in Krakow, headed by Jonas Turkow. This formerly unknown picture was given to our department’s collection by a family member of one of our staff, who found this accidently at her father’s old pictures.


The passport of Michal Wajs, born 1904 in Częstochowa – as given by his family to the JHI Family Heritage and Genealogy center. We are helping the family to find out more about the family, and its life in Poland before emigrating to Palestine-Israel in the 1930s.

A Program for short sketches from the I.L Peretz amateur Czestochowa Jewish theater to be performed on Shabat, March 12nd 1932, to be followed by a dancing ball. 2 weeks before Purim, it has a comic feel – sketched about Queen Ester, along with Tango songs and dancing bits.

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