A Tale of Two Museums
Ester Rachel Kaminska Theater Museum Collection

Dybbuk mania in Poland

Khonen and Henokh.JPG


Dybbuk mania in Poland


The Dybbuk premiered in Warsaw in 1920 in a production by the Vilna Troupe. Its plot revolved around the young Leah, daughter of the rich merchant Sender, and the poor yeshiva student and kabbalist Khonen. They fall in love when he comes to her house as a dinner guest. When Sender chooses another groom for Leah, Khonen--in the thrall of dangerous mystical ideas--kills himself and takes possession of her body during the wedding festivities. 

The play turned into a massive success, drawing large audiences for over a year, from all the shades of society, including a considerable number of Christians. A Yiddish columnist in Warsaw remarked that "of every five Jews in the city, a dozen watched 
The Dybbuk. How could this be? It is not a play you attend merely once." In the Polish capital alone, it was staged over three hundred times. 


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“Dybbuk mania in Poland,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed February 29, 2024, https://ataleoftwomuseums.yivo.org/items/show/2900.
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