Actress of the Yiddish theatre, known as the "mother of the Jewish theatre". Born in 1870 in Prozowo near Wołkowysk into the family of a local cantor, died in 1925 in Warsaw.
Her maiden name was Halpern (Helpern, Hailpern); wife of Abraham Izaak Kamiński, mother of Ida and Józef Kamiński.
Rachel Ester-Kamińska began her professional career as a stylist. She made her theatre debut in 1888 in Warsaw. She devoted herself entirely to acting after the death of her parents'. From 1893 she performed with the theatre ensemble of her future husband, Abraham Izaak Kamiński. She played mostly in operettas.
Kamińska won wide recognition when she performed in a dramatic repertoire, in particular in the Warsaw premiere of I.L. Perec's Di Gołdene Kejt / The Golden Chain and the following tournée in Russia (1908–1909).
The artist was well-received by affluent assimilated Jews in Moscow and Sankt Petersburg which was of crucial importance in development of her career. Kamińska also performed in the USA, London and Paris.
She made a name for herself as a great interpreter of the roles in Jakub Gordin's plays (Mirełe Eros), as well as in Henrik Ibsen's Nora / A Doll's House and Alexander Dumas's The Lady of the Camellias. As one of the pillars of the "Trupa Wileńska" / "The Vilnius Company", Kamińska is said to be the one who introduced and popularised the European classics such as Shakespeare, Chekhov and Shaw onto the Jewish stage. Kamińska also played in Yiddish films such as Mirełe Eros (1912), Der Unbekanter / A Stranger (1913), Di Sztifmuter / The Step-Mother (1914), Tkijes kaf / The Vow (1924).
The Theatre Museum IYVO in Vilnius was named after her.
Source: www.diapozytyw.pl, August 2009.