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A Brivele der mamen (1938)

One of the last Yiddish films made in Poland before the Nazi invasion, this film tells the story of a mother's persistent struggles to support her three children in pre-war World War II ... See full summary »


Joseph Green, Jecheskiel Mosze Neuman (literary collaborator) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Lucy Gehrman Lucy Gehrman ... Debora Berdyczewska
Misha Gehrman Misha Gehrman ... Mr. Stein - HIAS director
Gertrude Bulman Gertrude Bulman ... Miriam Berdyczewska
Max Bozyk Max Bozyk ... Szymon / Shimen, the Tailor (as Maks Bozyk)
Alexander Stein Alexander Stein ... Dawid Berdyczewski
Simche Fostel Simche Fostel ... The Cantor
Chana Lewin Chana Lewin ... Malke, wife of Shimen
Izak Grudberg Izak Grudberg ... Meir Berdyczewski
Samuel Landau Samuel Landau ... Hersh Leib, fabric wholesaler
Irving Bruner Irving Bruner ... Aron 'Arele' Berdyczewski
Edmund Zayenda Edmund Zayenda ... Irving Bird / Arnold Berd / Aron 'Arele' Berdyczewski as an adult
Edward Sternbach Edward Sternbach
Berta Gersten Berta Gersten ... (as Berta Gerstin)
Leon Kaswiner Leon Kaswiner
Gustav Berger Gustav Berger


One of the last Yiddish films made in Poland before the Nazi invasion, this film tells the story of a mother's persistent struggles to support her three children in pre-war World War II Polish Ukraine. After her family is pulled apart by severe poverty and the turmoil of war, she and her children make their way to New York and turn to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for help. Written by National Center for Jewish Film

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Poland | USA



Release Date:

14 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eternal Song See more »

Filming Locations:

Lviv, Ukraine


Box Office


PLN301,040 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Green-Film See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the highest grossing Yiddish film of its time. See more »


Referenced in Mamadrama: The Jewish Mother in Cinema (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

A Cinema Masterpiece Deserving of a Much Larger Audience
1 June 2009 | by cjprentiss-1See all my reviews

"A Brivele Der Mamen" is one of the greatest movies ever made, in any language. An absolute masterpiece. A powerful look at the lives of Jews in Poland prior to and during World War I. Lucy Gehrman is absolutely brilliant as the mother. This movie should be shown in art houses and seen by discriminating audiences all over the world. It is a pity that this movie has been confined mostly to Jewish audiences. This is a powerful, universal film, which should be seen by a vast, world-wide audience. While the film was a huge success when it opened in 1939, it is even more amazing today. Although the action takes place before and during World War I, it was filmed in Poland in 1938 and, as such, it is an extraordinary last look at Jewish life in Poland just before the Holocaust wiped it all out.

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