Pathe Tuschinski

Amsterdam, Netherlands | C.1921

Photo Credit: Ashley Spencer

Immigrating to Rotterdam from Poland in the early 20th Century, Abraham Icek Tuschinski was a dreamer. Initially planning on only using the city as a stopover on his way to the untold fortunes of the United States, Tuschinski would become swept up in another dream—the moving pictures. 

A poor, self-taught Jewish tailor, Abraham along with his brothers-in-law Hermann Gerschtanowitz and Hermann Ehrlich would latch on to the movie-craze of the era and open four cinemas in Rotterdam. Upon achieving this massive success, the group decided to move to nearby Amsterdam with the aim of building the city’s grandest movie house. 

Opening its doors in 1921, the Tuschinski Movie Palace was quickly as popular as its Rottterdam predecessors. Regaled with the latest Art Deco styles and interior murals, Abraham’s theater boasted over 1200 seats and included a most-modern heating and ventilation system. Wanting the theatre to have the first movie organ in the Netherlands, Tuschinski had a Belgian organ quickly shipped to the site before opening night after the American Wurlitzer Company couldn’t provide a custom one in time. 

Unbeknownst to the terrific Tuschinski, his time with the namesake theatre would be short-lived. With the coming of World War II, the four movie theaters in Rotterdam would be lost along with Abraham, his brothers-in-law, and their families

In 2021, 100 years after the theater’s opening, Time Out Magazine named the Tuschinski Theatre the most beautiful cinema in the world. A testament to Tuschinski’s vision and determination, one can only imagine the great works that may have come from his team in the ensuing decades. However, while the man may have been lost, the Tuschinski name will be remembered for years to come. 

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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