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Diana Blumenfeld (1 April 1903–3 August 1961) was a folksinger, pianist, and actress.

Biography

She was born in Warsaw, Poland. In 1921 she studied piano in the conservatory for one year, and then continued her studies at Khrinivietska's Polish Dramatic School, graduating in 1924.[1][2] She married Jonas Turkow in 1923.[3]

In 1924 Blumenfeld played with Esther-Rukhl Kaminska's troupe in Vilna.[1] Toward the end of the same year, she performed with a company at Warsaw's Central Theater, and then became one of the first members of the Warsaw Yiddish Art Theater (Varshever Yidisher Kunst-teater; VYKT).[1]

In 1925 she toured with Turkow's company, and in 1926 to 1927, with the Kraków Yiddish Dramatic Theater.[1][2] In 1929 she starred in the film Di Poylishe velder (The Polish fields).[1] With her beautiful alto voice, and talent as a pianist, Blumenfeld achieved great popularity as a performer, even inspiring some of Warsaw’s best songwriters to compose songs for her.[4]

In 1940 she and her husband were among those confined in the Warsaw ghetto.[4] During this period she continued to sing, performing in cafes, and in the ghetto theater Femina, on Leshno Street. Mordechai Gebirtig sent her his new songs, in the hope that through her performances she could spread them throughout the ghetto.[4]

She and Turkow escaped the liquidation of the ghetto. After the war they attempted to rebuild Polish-Jewish culture. In 1944 she helped organize a concert through the Association of Jewish Writers, Journalists and Actors. She sang on the Polish radio, touring displaced persons’ camps, and gave concerts for survivors.

Blumenfeld and her husband left Poland in 1945 and toured Europe; later they also performed in North and South America, and Israel.[4] They settled in the United States in 1947.[5]

Diana Blumenfeld died in The Bronx, New York in 1961.[4][6]

Selected recordings[2]

  • A Brivele Der Mamen (Solomon Smulevitz)
  • Fisher Lid (Aliza Greenblatt)
  • My Yiddishe Momme (Jack Yellen - Lou Pollack & Jack Yellen)

Filmography[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Zylbercweig, Zalmen (1931). "Blumenfeld-Turkow, Diana." (Yiddish) Leksikon fun yidishn teater. Vol. 1. New York: Elisheva. Column 178.
  2. ^ a b c "Diana Blumenfeld [Turkow]" (Russian). Translation of Zalmen Zylbercweig's 1931 biographical article on Blumenfeld (Leksikon fun yidishn teater, vol. 1), accompanied by several audio recordings. yiddishmusic.jewniverse.info.
  3. ^ Fater, Isaschar (1970). Jewish Music in Poland between the Two World Wars. World Federation of Polish Jews. p. 259.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Diana Blumenfeld". Music and the Holocaust. World ORT. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  5. ^ Mohrer, Fruma, and Marek Web (1998). Guide to the YIVO Archives. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. p. 36-37.
  6. ^ "Diana Blumenfeld". New York Times. September 5, 1961. p. 35. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Diana Blumenfeld." Internet Movie Database. www.imdb.com. Retrieved 18 May 2016.