Abraham Tuschinski

Date of birth
Date deceased


Abraham Tuschinski was a Polish-Jewish ready-to-wear tailor who wound up staying in Rotterdam in1904 while on the way to the United States. In Rotterdam he started a hotel that served kosher cuisine to the many Eastern European Jews who were waiting to sail to the United States.

Around 1910, with the help of his brothers-in-law Hermann Ehrlich and Hermann Gerschtanowitz, he opened his first cinema, Thalia, on the Hoogstraat in Rotterdam. After owning several cinemas in Rotterdam, he opened his first cinema in Amsterdam in 1921: the Theater Tuschinski in the Reguliersbreestraat. This movie palace had an unprecedentedly luxurious interior, and is still considered one of the most opulent movie theatres in the Netherlands. An added attraction was Tuschinski’s theatre orchestra, conducted by Max Tak, which provided the accompanying music during the films. In 1924, Tuschinski took over the Grand Théâtre in Rotterdam, which at the time was the largest cinema in the Netherlands. The Grand Théâtre also housed the small cinema called Studio 32, where Tuschinski showed the artistically reliable films that the Filmliga liked to see.

Due to a series of luxurious investments and the expensive long-lease of a parcel in The Hague, bankruptcy threatened in 1936. Tuschinski eventually rescued the business by financially housing all his cinemas in the Tuschinski Bioscoop-Exploitatie Maatschappij (Tubem). From that moment on, Tuschinski, Ehrlich, and Gerschtanowitz were still the general managers, but were no longer the owners of their company. The founding of Tubem meant the end of Tuschinski's empire. In 1939, a few months after the death of Tuschinski's son Will, Tubem decided to rent out the Tuschinski theatres to the German company Tobis.

In May of 1940, the Thalia, Grand Théâtre and Olympia cinemas were destroyed in the bombing of Rotterdam. Shortly beforehand, on Queens Day, the entire staff of Theater Tuschinski was arrested by the Germans for displaying the Dutch and British flags. Tuschinski and his wife Manja went into hiding, but were eventually arrested. They died in Auschwitz. His brothers-in-law and their wives did not survive the war either.


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