Jonas Turkow

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Jonas Turkow
Born 15 February 1898
Warsaw, Poland
Died 1 May 1987
Tel Aviv, Israel
Occupation Actor, filmmaker, writer, manager
Years active 1916-1950
Jonas Turkow second from the left

Jonas Turkow was born in 1898 in Warsaw, Poland and died in 1987 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He was an actor, stage manager, director and writer.

He was the brother of the actor Zygmunt Turkow, the actor and writer Icchak Turkow, and the journalist Marek Turkow; and husband of the famous actress Diana Blumenfeld.

In Warsaw, he performed in Dos artistishe vinkele (The artistic corner), which he organized with his brother Zygmunt, in 1916; and worked for a while under the direction of David Herman at the Elysium Theater.[1] He also briefly performed in the German comedy theater of the brothers Herrnfeld, in Berlin. From 1917 to 1920 he played in Esther-Rukhl Kaminska's troupe; in 1921 he organized Dos baveglekhe dramatishe teater touring Poland and Galicia. Subsequently, he toured with Di yunge bine (The young stage). In 1926 he was hired to direct the cultural Yiddish theatre in Kraków. He received the first state subsidy given in Poland to any Yiddish theater.[2] During the 1930s he was director for kleynkunst revi-teater in Kaunas.[3]

He was imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto during the years 1940 to 1943, and after the ghetto uprising survived in hiding.[1] After the war, as a member of the Central Jewish Committee of Poland, he investigated 18 cases of Jewish collaboration with German Gestapo.[4]

In 1947 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City.[1] There, beginning in 1958, he worked as the theater archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.[5] He moved to Israel in 1966.[1][5]

Jonas Turkow performed in the following movies as an actor:

Jonas Turkow directed:

  • In die poylishe velder (1929)

Jonas Turkow wrote:

  • Turkow, Jonas. O levante do gueto de Varsovia / Jonas Turkow; tradução, Ayala Ehrlich. – São Paulo: Federação Israelita do Estado de São Paulo, 1975 Mifaley Tarbut ve-Hinukh Tel Awiw 1969 Jonas Turkow
  • Jonas Turkow: In Kamf farn Lebn, Buenos Aires, 1949
  • Jonas Turkow: Azoi iz es Geven, Buenos Aires, 1948
  • Jonas Turkow:"Nokh der befrayung – zikhroynes" [Yiddish], Buenos Aires 1959
  • Jonas Turkow: "Farloshene shtern" [Yiddish], 1953
  • Jonas Turkow: "Teater un Konsertn in die Getos un Konstentratsye Lagern," in Yidisher Teater in Yirope…Poilen. Nowy Jork, (1968). Knight Publishing.
  • Jonas Turkow (Ionas Turkov): C'était ainsi. 1939-1943 la vie dans le ghetto de Varsovie. Paris: Austral, 1995
  • Jonas Turkow: "This is How It Was…", published. By the Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, 1948 (529 pages)


  1. ^ a b c d Bułat, Mirosława M. "Turkow Family." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  2. ^ Zylbercweig, Zalmen, Leksikon fun Yidishn teater, Book 2, column 871
  3. ^ Biography of Menasha Oppenheim (in Russian).
  4. ^ Zagłada Żydów: studia i materiały (in Polish). Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów IFiS PAN. 2006. 
  5. ^ a b "Turkow." Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd edition. New York: Macmillan Reference USA. Volume 20, p. 203, section "Jonas Turkow". Retrieved via Gale Virtual Reference database, 11 May 2017. Also available online via