At age 35
Born: 1883, in Lodz, Poland
Height: 6 foot, 1 inch
Weight: 225 pounds
Chest: 50 inches
Neck: 19 inches
Upper arm: 18.5 inches
Waist: 35 inches
Calf: 17 inches
All pictures are copyright Forty-three Productions
Siegmund Breitbart or "Zisha" was a strongman in the 1920s in America. He is truely a legendary strongman. A star before there was TV, Breitbart packed them in by thousands.
He was a very contraversal figure in the 20's because he was Jewish. Many people at that time could not accept that a Jewish man would claim to be the strongest man in the world. Nevertheless, he perserved despite heavy prejudice and preformed well.
He died several weeks after a preformance. Currently, Forty-Three productions of Los Angeles is beginning a film production of his life and times. It is being produced by one of Zisha's decendents. A search is now going on to find a real strongman (i.e., someone who can actually duplicate some of the feats, not some actor who uses stage weights or rigged props) to play the part fo Siegmund.
An Article About Siegmund Breitbart
By David Webster
Found in Sons of Samson copyright IronMind
Siegmund "Zisha" Breitbart was born in a Jewish community in Lodz, Poland in 1883. Son of an impoverished blacksmith, he became a strength star of the early 1920s. He arrived in America on 26 August 1923 and gained US citizenship later that year. He performed before more than 85,000 people during Christmas week of 1923 earning $7,000 a week. (Of course, it is a lot of money now, but it was a ton of money back then). He rolled half inch metal bars into scrolls, broke spikes with his bare hands and hammered nails through three one-inch planks of wood. Under labratory conditions, he went through convincing tests on his ability to bite through metal chain links. He died on 12 October 1925, some time after a rusty nail pierced his thigh during a performance.
A Tribute To Siegmund Breitbart
Written by Mr. Gary Bart of Forty-Three Productions and a decendent of Siegmund
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 Hurcules position, and heavy animals (such as a bull, an elephant, etc.) were paraded over it. He even supported a moto-dome where 2 men chased each other on motorcycles. Everything was suported 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. Unfortuantely, 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 reult, he contracted blood-poisioning 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. At in the same cemetary in Berlin and on the same day Zisha was burried, a fellow Jew was laid to rest. This other man was a member of the German Weimar Legislature and wrote their post-WWI constituition. He died from an assasins bullet. It was the beginning of the end for not just Breitbart, but for almost all of his people as well. The niave dream that he had was extinguished.