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Ida Kaminska (1899-1980): Grande Dame of the Yiddish Theater

About the Exhibition

Ida Kaminska (1899-1980): Grande Dame of the Yiddish Theater, opened in May 2001 at the Center for Jewish History. Curated by YIVO Archivist Krysia Fisher, it chronicled the life and career of Ida Kaminska, daughter of the great Yiddish actress Esther-Rachel Kaminska, co-founder of the VIKT (Warsaw Yiddish Art Theater), and after World War II, the director of the Warsaw State Jewish State Theater.

The exhibition traced the life of Ida Kaminska from 1923-24, when she and her husband, Zygmunt Turkow, established their Warsaw Yiddish Art Theater (WIKT) ensemble, to the post-war period, when she and her second husband, Meir Melman, founded the Jewish State Theater in Warsaw. Kaminska's fame was enhanced by her film work. Her most famous crossover role was in the Oscar-winning The Shop on Main Street. In 1968, Kaminska and Melman left Poland to settle in the United States.

Ida Kaminska (1899-1980): Grande Dame of the Yiddish Theater was made possible by the generous support of Ewa and Jozef Blass and Victor Markowwicz.

The exhibition was accompanied by a catalog with essays by Krysia Fisher, Dr. Michael C. Steinlauf, and Henryk Grynberg. The catalog is available for purchase at the Center's Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Book Store. Click here for a list of other available YIVO publications and for information on how to purchase the catalog.