Historic Yiddish theatre damaged by snowstorm in Romania.
One of Europe's oldest Yiddish theatres, the State Jewish
Theatre of Bucharest, has been forced to close down after its roof was
damaged by the snowstorms sweeping Romania. "This is a disaster.
About 30 per cent of the theatre roof has been destroyed. The stage is
covered with water from the melting snow as well as the underground
deposits where we keep the sets," the director of the theatre,
actress Maia Morgenstern told AFP. "I am very worried because this
theatre is a historical monument but also a very important element to
preserve the Yiddish culture in Europe", added the actress. The
State Jewish Theatre is one of the few living remains of the once
vibrant Yiddish culture in Eastern Europe. Located in the centre of
Bucharest, in a district that was home to more than 300,000 Jews before
the Holocaust and the Communist dictatorship, it features plays in the
Yiddish language. The theatre opened in 1940 and was allowed to continue
its activities during the .World War II, sheltering Jewish actors and
playwrights banned from other cultural institutions. Romanian
authorities said they would provide assistance in getting the building
repaired. "The building of the State Jewish Theatre is not
administered by the ministry but as it is a very important cultural
institution, I will not hesitate to be involved to find a
solution," Culture Minister Gigel Stirbu told Mediafax news agency.
Between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews died in Romania
and the territories under its control during pro-Nazi marshal Ion
Antonescu's regime, according to an international historians'
commission headed by Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel. Romania's
Jewish community today counts just over 3,300 people, according to the
official census. The first professional Yiddish theatre troupe in the
world was founded in Romania in 1876 by Abraham Goldfaden. Romania has
been hit with heavy snowfall in recent days, forcing the closure of
schools and highways in the southeast of the country and disrupting
train services on Wednesday.
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