A Tale of Two Museums
Ester Rachel Kaminska Theater Museum Collection

The Duke (Der Dukus) or Righteous Convert, 1925

photo DUKUS Box93189.jpg


The Duke (Der Dukus) or Righteous Convert, 1925


The extraoridnary talent, Alter-Sholem Kacyzne (Yiddish, Katsizne, 1885-1941) is best known for his photographs. As a photographer working in Poland for the New York-based Forward newspaper, he became one of the most important documentarians of pre-war Jewish. Born in Vilna to a working class family, Kacyzne attended heder and also Russian-language Jewish elementary school. In 1910, attracted to the work and figure of Y.L. Peretz, Kacyzne moved to Warsaw where he opened a photography studio and wrote and published in Yiddish. K. began writing for the Yiddish stage after he completed An-ski’s unfinished play Tog un Nakht (Day and Night)Kacyzne was also a writer of prose and drama. He explained that he was drawn to an aristocratic gentile who converts to Judaism in his play Dukus or Righteous Convert (recently translated into English) , not so much as a personal story but as a social story that could illuminate the background of the Jewish community. Other plays of his include Shvartsbard about Sholem Schwartzbard who assassinated the Ukrainian nationalist Symon Petliura in 1926, and Ester, about a young Jewish woman revolutionary. He also contributed to a Yiddish adaptation of Ben Jonson’s Volpone, that enjoyed particular success in the early twenties in an adaption by Stefan Zweig.




YIVO Institute for Jewish Research


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“The Duke (Der Dukus) or Righteous Convert, 1925,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed February 29, 2024, https://ataleoftwomuseums.yivo.org/items/show/2193.
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