Isaac Verkhovski

Isaac Verkhovski
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This is my husband Isaac Verkhovski in 1939. The photograph was taken when he worked at the Lepesh regional theater, by an artist of the theater. Isaac was born in Vitebsk in 1919. After finishing lower secondary school in 1935 Isaac entered the art school in Vitebsk. He finished it in 1939. Afterwards he got a job assignment with the Lepesh regional theater near Vitebsk where he worked until the beginning of the war in June 1941. This was a traveling theater that was on tour in Western Belarus in 1941. He was chief stage and costume designer. When the war began the theater closed. They loaded all items on carts and walked beside the carts. My husband had a winter coat made in Belarus. It was a hot summer and he got tired of dragging this coat along. He threw it away. Since then he never had a winter coat made and did without. They got to Vitebsk and in some time my husband managed to evacuate with his relatives. In December 1941 he was mobilized to the army. He was wounded in his right hand at the front and was demobilized from the army in 1942. In November 1943 he began to work as art director in the Moscow Jewish State Theater of Solomon Mikhoels. My husband participated in making arrangements for the Freilakh performance and many other performances produced by Mikhoels. He did the stage sets and costumes for almost all performances staged by Mikhoels in the theater. My husband worked with a well-known artist called Alexandr Tyshler. They were friends. In 1948 Mikhoels was murdered in Minsk. My husband went to his funeral and helped his relatives to make all necessary arrangements. Isaac was very sad about the death of Mikhoels and the subsequent closure of the Jewish theater. He stayed in the theater until the last day and helped to save the stage sets. The Jewish theater operated until early 1950. In the same year Isaac began to work in Maly Theater. He obtained an assignment by the Ministry of Culture. He worked there for over 30 years until he retired in 1989.

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Interviewee: Rachil Meitina
Svetlana Bogdanova
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Moscow, Russia


Isaac Verkhovski
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after WW II
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