Moscow State Jewish Theatre

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The Moscow State Jewish Theater (Russian: Московский Государственный Еврейский Театр), also known by its acronym GOSET (ГОСЕТ), was a Yiddish theater company established in 1919 and shut down in 1948 by the Soviet authorities.

It was founded by Alexander Granowsky as the Jewish Theater Workshop, in St. Petersburg, in 1919.[1] In 1920, when Granowsky's theater was taken over by the People's Commissariat of Enlightenment, it relocated to Moscow, and became the Moscow State Jewish Theater.[2] It early on attracted Solomon Mikhoels, who eventually became the leading actor and, in 1928, its director. The design of GOSET's foyer, as well as decorations sets and costumes for its first production, were done by Marc Chagall.

The theater's repertoire included adaptations of Sholom Aleichem, such as Tevye the Milkman (also adopted in the West as Fiddler on the Roof), and of Avrom Goldfaden, such as Bar Kokhba, as well as works by contemporary Soviet Yiddish writers, such as Perets Markish and Dovid Bergelson. The theater also performed William Shakespeare's King Lear to great acclaim. Many of the theater's plays were ostensibly supportive of the Soviet state, but closer readings suggest that they actually contained veiled critiques of Stalin's regime.

In January 1948, Mikhoels was murdered by the MVD, and his death was made to look like a car accident. Months later the theater was shut down, and the members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (also headed by Mikhoels) were arrested. At least thirteen prominent Soviet Yiddish writers were executed on August 12, 1952 in the event known as "The Night of the Murdered Poets" ("Ночь казненных поэтов").

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Riss, Heidelore (2000). Ansätze zu einer Geschichte des jüdischen Theaters in Berlin 1889-1936. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. p. 154.
  2. ^ Veidlinger, Jeffrey (September 3, 2010). "Moscow State Yiddish Theater." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. Retrieved 2017-05-09.

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Coordinates: 55°45′33″N 37°35′53″E / 55.75917°N 37.59806°E / 55.75917; 37.59806