TORONTO (Sep. 14)
Funeral services were held here for Chayele Luxemberg-Rotstein, a Polish-bom Yiddish actress well known in the Soviet Union during World War II, who died at the age of 69. Burial was at the Lodzer Centre in Toronto.
Luxemberg-Rotstein began her stage career as a child when she joined the Warsaw Yiddish Theater and toured Poland with many visiting stars of the then flourishing Yiddish theater in America. When Poland was partitioned between invading German and Russian forces in 1939, she fled with her husband to Bialystok, then under Soviet occupation.
She and 40 other performers formed a new Yiddish theatrical troupe which toured the Soviet Union. They were honored in 1940 at a reception in Moscow attended by leading stars of Russia’s Yiddish stage, all of whom were later executed at Stalin’s orders.
When the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, the troupe was evacuated to central Asia where it continued to perform for other evacuees from Poland and western Russia. They played throughout Uzbekistan and in towns along the Iranian border.
At the end of the war, Luxemberg-Rotstein returned to Western Europe where she entertained at displaced persons camps in the American occupation zone. In 1948 she come to Canada, with her husband, Mietek Rotstein, to join her mother who lived in Toronto. She continued to perform in Canada and the U.S. in roles that covered the entire Yiddish theater repertory.