Moscow State Jewish Theatre
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. 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. 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").
- Riss, Heidelore (2000). Ansätze zu einer Geschichte des jüdischen Theaters in Berlin 1889-1936. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. p. 154.
- Veidlinger, Jeffrey (September 3, 2010). "Moscow State Yiddish Theater." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
- Veidlinger, Jeffrey (2000). The Moscow State Yiddish Theater: Jewish Culture on the Soviet Stage. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253337849. "Review by J. Hoberman". 2001. Archived from the original on May 10, 2006.
- Veidlinger, Jeffrey (September 3, 2010). "Moscow State Yiddish Theater." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
- Zuskin-Perelman, Ala (2015). The Travels of Benjamin Zuskin. Translated from the Hebrew by Sharon Blass. With photos. The author is the daughter of Benjamin Zuskin and Eda Berkovsky. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2015. ISBN 9780815653240. "Review of the Hebrew work by Michael Handelzalts". 2006. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013.
- Finding Aid to Moscow State Jewish Theater Archive (GOSET) in RGALI (in English and Russian)
- Marc Chagall and Moscow State Yiddish Theater (GOSET), 1920s Image gallery
- Moscow State Yiddish Theatre correspondence, 1928, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- Moscow State Jewish Theater Archive (GOSET) in RGALI is available on microfilm[dead link]
- Where the Tsar banned Yiddish theater, the Soviets would subsidize it