logo logo

Aleksandr Zass

Aleksandr Zass, Circus artist.


  • Zass, Aleksandr was born in 1888 in Wilno (now Vilnius). Son of a Jewish father and Russian mother.

  • Career

    • Entered the circus and soon became a strongman, nicknamed the Iron Samson. His usual advertising stunt when he arrived in a new town was to have a car run over him. His most famous stunt was inspired by a real event in his life, when he had had to carry a horse on his shoulders.

      In his act he made this even more complicated by wading knee-deep through water while carrying the 375kg. horse. He was called up for active service when World War I broke out. Repeated his stunt under enemy fire when his horse was shot in the leg.

      After the war, as a private, moved to England, and performed all over Europe. Worked in the circus until his death. In his 70s, he was still able to walk into the arena carrying a special shoulder-pole, on the ends of which sat 2 enormous lions.

      His strength was the more remarkable taking into consideration his height (a mere 167cm.) and his weight (only 80kg.).
    See on larger map
    Born 1888
    Died 1962
    (aged 74)