Circus Blumenfeld in Germany

Circus Blumenfeld
Poster probably from 1912.
Poster probably from 1912.
Typecircus
Founded1811
First elephant1912
Stopped elephants1928
Closed down1928
AddressKönigstraße 62/63
(Walther-Rathenau-Straße)
PlaceMagdeburg
CountryGermany

1811: The Circus was founded by Moritz Blumenfeld (1783-1867). Maurice Levi Cerf , (also Moritz Hirsch Levy) was from a French-Alsatian family and owned a menagerie featuring birds and apes. According to a Blumenfeld researcher Maurice Levi Cerf/Moritz Hirsch Levy married Jetta Jonas. Her father was Abraham Jonas (abt 1762 – abt 1786) and mother was Esther Abraham (1766-?). After Abraham died, Esther married again to Isaac Lazarus Blumenfeld (1762-1843). Thus, the name Blumenfeld came from Esther’s step-father.

Maurice/Moritz Blumenfeld and his wife had nine children: Moritz, Meyer, Emanuel, Sophia, Nathan, Leopold, Herman, Mina, David, and Simon.

1834: Moritz Blumenfeld handed over the business to his son Emanuel. After the death of Emanuels first wife (Jetta Hartog), he married Jeannette Stein, who brought her parents’ circus into the marriage, and the Circus Blumenfeld became one of the largest operations of its time.

1874: the Circus Blumenfeld bought permanent headquarters in Guhrau, Germany (now Góra in Poland)
1885: Emanuel Blumenfeld died.
1897: the Circus started using railway. The circus had six tents, 130 horses, and its own string orchestra, and averaged about 4,000 visitors.

Emanuel had sixteen children. The management of the circus passed first to Emanuel’s sons Adolf, Hermann, and Simon, and then to Simon’s sons.

Simon Blumenfeld and Rosa Strassburger had 11 children, among them: Alex (whos name was Emanuel Blumenfeld, born 6. Juli 1885 in Keukehem), Alfred ( born 1st of March 1891 in Marienburg) and Alfons (born 31st of May 1887 in Mannheim and married to Olympia Könyet, their daughter Ruth was married to Ludwig Berousek), all working in Circus.

1913: Alex Blumenfeld had 5 asian elephants in the ring, while he was playing violin, riding on one of them (Bubu).

1916: Blumenfeld sold back 2 elephants to Hagenbecks.

1920:s, Circus Blumenfeld moved their permanent headquarters to Magdeburg, Germany, with 45 horses, two elephants, four camels, three llamas, and two bulls.


Wandercircus Gebr. Blumenfeld jr. Magdeburg, 1924


Die Sipo als Wegweiser zum Circus Blumenfeld, 1926

1928: The circus went bankrupt. The last elephant Rosa was sold to circus Knie
1937: Simon’s son Eugene died.

During WWII the entire family were killed in the german Holocaust. Only the son Arthur survived, hiding in Berlin. After the end of World War II, Arthur tried to restart the Circus Blumenfeld with his wife Victoria.
1945: the circus performed for Allied troops and orphans.
1949: Artur sold the circus to Circus Busch
1951: Artur committed suicide.

1960:s Emanuel Blumenfeld’s great-grandson Jack married Christine Busch and assumed the management of Circus Busch (now owner of the former Circus Blumenfeld).


I bought back two elephants from that veteran circus manager, Hermann Blumenfeld he had bought them from us shortly before the
beginning of the war. Blumenfeld was a temperamental fellow, known as Hermann-Hermann, because he used to get so excited that he
always repeated the end of a sentence once or twice. 'Jolly glad,' he assured me, 'jolly glad to give you your old elephants back; they're eating me out of house and home, house and home, anyway out at my place at Magdeburg at Magdeburg they're just
standing about on the chain, on the chain. You can pay me when you like, you like. Send me the draft home, simple address, just Blumenfeld, Guhrau-Guhrau.


Animals Are My Life, by Lorenz Hagenbeck



the circus Blumenfeld had twice elephants: befor the 1. world war and after.
The first elephants were bought by Hagenbeck and sold back to Lorenz Hagenbeck when the circus E. Blumenfeld Wwe. was closed. We don't know the names of those elephants. The second elephants belonged to the circus Gebr. Blumenfeld jun., there were five animals. When this circus were closed in 1928 the elephant Rosa was sold to circus Knie. We don't know about the other four elephants.

Dietmar Winkler, circusarchiv.de

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