©Copyright restrictions apply. The material contained herein is copyright of the ©History of Physical Culture (HOPC). All rights reserved. No part of this database shall be reproduced or transmitted by any means without our written consent.
Zisha was a Polish Jew living in Berlin. He traveled extensively with Circus Busch, the largest circus in the world at the time. He was called the IRONKING (he came from a family of blacksmiths). He bent iron bars around his arm in floral patterns, bit through iron chains or pulled them apart.
He tore a horseshoe in half, held back two horses who were whipped, pulled a wagon-load of people with his teeth. He also laid on his back and supported enormous weights such as an automobile (They were pretty heavy then, and it was filled with 10 passengers).
A bridge was built across his chest, which was called the Tomb of Hercules position, and heavy animals (such as a bull, an elephant, etc.) were paraded over it.
left: Strongman Siegmund Breitbart
He even supported a moto-dome where 2 men chased each other on motorcycles. Everything was supported on his chest. Three tombstones were placed on his chest while two men hammered away with sledgehammers. He lifted a baby elephant. While holding on to the elephant, he climbed a ladder and held a locomotive wheel by rope in his teeth while 3 men were suspended from the wheel.
Breitbart dreamed and believed that he was the Modern Samson and actually started a Jewish sports organization in the 1920's to teach Jews how to be strong so that they would join him in an army to liberate Palestine (which was then under British control). He even planned to appear in Palestine and recreate the famous feats of Samson to gain world-wide attention for all Jews to join him in creating a homeland for the Jews. Unfortunately, while on his last tour of Europe, tragedy struck.
As he usually did, Siegmund was hammering a railroad spike with only his bare hands through 5 one inch oak boards that were resting on his knee, the nail pierced his leg. As a result, he contracted blood-poisoning for which there was no cure. He struggled heroically and lasted eight weeks in terrible agony as he watched them remove one leg then the other in the vain hope of saving him. Finally after 10 operations, he died.
Siegmund Breitbart (back pose)
Siegmund Breitbart performing a feat of strength.
Siegmund Breitbart, Elsenkönig
At in the same cemetery in Berlin and on the same day Zisha was buried, a fellow Jew was laid to rest. This other man was a member of the German Weimar Legislature and wrote their post-WWI constitution. He died from an assassins bullet. It was the beginning of the end for not just Breitbart, but for almost all of his people as well. The naive dream that he had was extinguished.
Grateful thanks to Gary Bart for permission to reproduce the above
Breitbart also starred in several films and had a highly successful career on stage as a professional Strongman. After his tragic death in 1925 the postal course was acquired and continued successfully for some while by Tex O'Rourke.
Access 100's of Muscle Building Books, Articles, Workouts, Rare Photos, Strongmen, Biographies, Line Art Humor, Special Features plus more!
Siegmund Breitbart 1883 - 1925
Developed by Robert Web Studio