actor, lyricist and screenwriter
He wrote for the press, for the stage, for Polish film, for Yiddish film—there was genre of entertainment that has not benefited from the energy, wit and elegance of Tom’s pen. He wrote song lyrics and skits for such cabarets as Momus and the legendary Qui pro Quo; he wrote vaudeville texts and operetta librettos; and when writing was not enough, he would step on the stage as actor or MC. Before World War I, Tom wrote for several newspapers in Łódź, and performed in the cabaret Bi-Ba-Bo; after the war, he directed and managed some of the most interesting cabarets in Warsaw. The breadth and depth of Tom’s understanding of his métier was such that he was invited to teach at the newly formed State Institute for Theater Arts. Tom became involved with film early on, in 1916. Throughout the 1930s, he wrote texts for some 40 Polish films. Cross-Atlantic film ventures also gave him the opportunity to address Yiddish-speaking audiences: his novella served as a model for Joseph Green’s screenplay for Yidl mitn Fidl; soon after, he wrote the screenplay for Green’s Mamele (1938). At the start of World War II, Tom found himself in Soviet Union. When the opportunity presented itself he joined the theatrical ensemble associated with the Polish Army in the USSR; and after 1942 he traveled in the Polish Army of General Anders, from the Middle East to Monte Cassino. After the war he settled in Los Angeles, where he took menial jobs in the film industry.
Lerski, Tomasz. Syrena Record: pierwsza polska wytwórnia fonograficzna; Poland’s first recording company, 1904-1939. New York; Warsaw: Editions Karin, 2004.
Qui pro Quo
“Konrad Tom,” Jewish Life in Interwar Łódź , accessed March 21, 2023, https://jewish-lodz.iu.edu/items/show/70.