Book on Vilnius Jewish Folk Theater

On September 8, 2023, a presentation of Betzalel Frank’s newly published Russian language book “Vilnius Jewish Folk Theater. Pages of History” took place at the building of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius.

In the late 1940s, during Stalin’s anti-Semitic campaign, virtually all public Jewish cultural events in the USSR were banned. This ban was lifted in 1956; Jewish amateur actors and singers then immediately reappeared in Vilnius, performing in Yiddish. The Vilnius Jewish Folk Theater, created in 1971, remained active until 1999. It ceased to exist due to the mass emigration of most Lithuanian Jews to Israel.

Betzalel (Tzalik) Frank is a former actor of the Vilnius Jewish Folk Theater who now lives in Israel. For many years he has been collecting materials related to this theater, which for almost three decades preserved not only the tradition of Jewish stage art in Lithuania, but also helped to preserve the Yiddish language itself. As a result of his labors, Frank presented in Vilnius his new richly illustrated book of memoirs.