The Moscow State Yiddish Theater Collection

msyt-collection-announcement-webThe Moscow State Yiddish Theater (MSYT) collection at the Blavatnik Archive Foundation (BAF) is now fully cataloged and accessible online at
The collection comprises 581 items, including 147 photographs and 434 documents in Russian, Yiddish, Ukrainian, Hebrew, German, and French. Formerly, it was the family archive of Iustina Minkova (1895-1979) and Solomon Zil’berblat (1897-1977), Yiddish actors and members of the GOSET (Gosudarstvennyi evreiskii
teatr, Russian acronym of the Moscow State Yiddish Theater) troupe. Although the collection contains documents from the 1900s through the 1970s, most are from GOSET’s golden years, the 1920s-1930s. The collection includes the theater’s internal memos and letters, draft playbills, scripts, annotated by actors,
administrative correspondence, minutes of the local actors’ union meetings, posters, bills, and much more.

Highlights of the collection include:
• A unique and extensive selection of press coverage (newspaper clippings) of the 1928 GOSET tour in Europe, including a review by Walter Benjamin (
• Letters penned by leading figures of interwar Yiddish culture, such as actor Solomon Mikhoels (, poet Perets Markish (, and theater historian Zalmen Zylbercweig (
• Set designs of GOSET performances by leading Jewish artists, such as Meir Akselrod (
• Debates on the Cultural Revolution policy in the Soviet Yiddish Theater
In scope and significance, the MSYT collection at the BAF complements other archival collections of GOSET materials, two in Russia (at the Russian State Archives for Literature and Art and the A.A. Bakhrushin State Theatrical Museum in Moscow) and one in Israel (at the Israel Goor Theatre Archives and Museum at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem). Unlike the other collections, the MSYT collection at the BAF is fully digitized, cataloged, and accessible online.

The Blavatnik Archive Foundation ( is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating primary resources that contribute to the study of 20th-century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, Soviet and interwar periods. The
Archive was founded in 2005 by American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, to reflect his commitment to his family heritage, to explore his interests in historical events and people, and to expand his support for primary source-based scholarship and education. Currently, the Archive’s holdings of over 90,000 items include video oral histories, postcards, photographs, posters, drawings and illustrations, diaries, letters and documents, periodicals, leaflets and books.

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