José Maurer

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José Maurer (Hebrew: יוסף מאורער‎‎; May 6, 1906 – May 23, 1968) was a stage and cinema actor starring mainly in the Yiddish theatre in Europe, Argentina and Israel from the early 1920s.


Early life[edit]

He was born Yoshe Maurer Neumann in the town of Boryslav, then a thriving Oil town in Galicia, Austria and today part of the Ukraine. Maurer was the son of the local cobbler, and known as an amateur violinist, actor and singer.

Performing career[edit]

When the famous Vilnius Jewish Theatre (Vilna Troupe), under the direction of Zygmund Turkow visited Boryslav in 1922, the 16-year-old Yoshe was offered a minor role. Two weeks later, as the Theatre left, so did Yoshe, never to return to his home town. As a member of this famous Yiddish Theatre he toured Poland and Rumania until 1927, when he emigrated to Argentina.

In Buenos Aires he became one of the leading actors in the Jewish Yiddish Theatre, playing along such renowned actors as Joseph Buloff, Maurice Schwartz and Jacob Ben-Ami. He was regarded as a first class "character" (drama) actor and as a "tour de force" used to change leading roles, for example, playing with Ben Ami both parts of Man and Devil in Got, Mentsch Und Taivel, the famous Yiddish version of Faust by Jacob Gordin, night after night. On the other hand, he had a gift for comedy and took part in many musical comedies.

In the late nineteen-forties, he was elected President of the Jewish Actors Guild in Argentina and served in this post for more than 20 years, until his emigration to Israel.

He was a notable co-star in 28 Argentine films, specializing in "foreign" accents and played the Spanish Argentine stage, among others, with Berta Singerman.

In 1963, he moved to Israel where he played the Yiddish stage and was elected there too as President of the Yiddish Actor's Guild until his death.

Death and legacy[edit]

His lifelong wish was to die on stage and this he did. In 1968, shortly after the curtain went down, and still wearing makeup on his face, he had a stroke and died shortly afterwards, aged 62.

His collection of manuscript plays, including translations into Yiddish of modern Argentine drama, was donated to the Bar Ilan University and is now part of the Rena Costa Center for Yiddish Studies.


External links[edit]