TOTSHE ARTSISHEVSKA (TEA ARCISZEWSKA) (c. 1890-January 20, 1962)
She hailed from a great Polish Jewish lineage: her father Mendl Lipski was a businessman and Gerer hassid from the eminent Lipski family of Kutne (Kutno), Poland; her mother was from a well-known, old family in Mlave (Mława). She was raised in a religious home, in Mlave, later in Warsaw. In her youth, she wrote poetry. She graduated from a Polish drama school. At age sixteen, she was introduced to the painter Shmuel Kratke. Due to her family’s opposition to the match, she ran off with him to Palestine and got married there. After two years living in Jerusalem, she returned to Warsaw and befriended Y. L. Perets and all the other Yiddish writers who frequented Perets’s home. She had a drama school in Warsaw around 1914-1915. Perets gave her the artistic name of Miriam Izraels, and with this name she performed in Perets’s stage pieces. In 1925 she was the founder of the variety theater Azazel in Warsaw. During WWII, she was interned for several months in a concentration camp in Burgvayde. After the war, she settled in Paris and completed the work over which she had been working on before the war: the drama Miryaml for which she received the Aleksander Shapiro prize from the World Jewish Congress in New York in 1954. She was also a contributor to the Parisian newspaper, Far undzere kinder (For our children). In 1962 she published Miryeml, dramatisher tsikl in fuftsn bilder (Little Miriam, a dramatic cycle in fifteen scenes) (Paris: Goldene pave), 238 pp. She died in Paris.
Sources: Y. Y. Trunk, Poyln (Poland), vol. 5 (New York, 1949); Melekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945); R. Federman, “Fun mayn lebn” (From my life), in Tshenstokhover yidn (Jews of Tshenstokhov) (New York, 1947); Dr. Y. Shatski, “Vegn ‘miryaml’ fun tea ortsishevska” (Concerning Miryaml by Tea Ortsishevska), Bulyetin fun alveltlekhn yidishn kultur-kongres (Bulletin of the World Jewish Congress), mimeograph (New York) (June 28, 1954); Khil Aron(son), “A bazukh mit tea ortsishevska” (A visit with Tea Ortsishevska), Naye prese (Paris) (July 1, 1947).