Zishe Breitbart

Zishe Breitbart

Siegmund Breitbart (22 February 1893 – 12 October 1925), also known popularly as Zishe or Sische Breitbart (Yiddish: זישע ברייטבאַרט), was a Polish-born circus performer, vaudeville strongman and Jewish folklore hero. He was known as the "Strongest Man in the World" and Eisenkönig ("Ironking") during the 1920s.

Breitbart was born into an observant Jewish family of blacksmiths in Stryków near Łódź (Poland), on February 22, 1893.

Breitbart performed extensively in Europe and America touring with the Circus Busch using a strength act themed to fit his former background as a blacksmith. He bent iron bars around his arm in floral patterns, bit through iron chains or tore them apart, and even broke horseshoes in half. It has been reported that he would tear solid steel sheets 5/8" thick and 3 feet long.[citation needed] As a showman, Breitbart feats also included holding back two whipped horses, pulling a wagon-load of people with his teeth and supporting enormous weights, such as automobiles loaded with up to ten passengers, while lying on his back. Stones would be broken by sledge-hammers on his chest. He also lifted a baby elephant, and while holding on to the elephant, he climbed a ladder and held a locomotive wheel by rope in his teeth while three men were suspended from the wheel.

Breitbart took one of the most popular feats among the strongmen of the era and made it part of his act. During The Tomb of Hercules, a bridge was built across his chest and heavy beasts such as a bull, or an elephant, were paraded over the boards. But Breitbart took it a step further, he would support a motordrome on his chest while two men chased each other on motorcycles inside.

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