Circus Knie in Switzerland

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Circus Knie

OwnerFriedrich Knie (1784–1850)
National-Circus AG

Address St. Wendelinstrasse 10
Zip-code 8640
Place Rapperswil
Country Switzerland

DirectorsFriedrich Knie (1784–1850)
Karl Knie (1813–1860)
Ludwig Knie (1842–1909)
Marie Heim (1858–1936)

?-2019: Fredy Knie

Head keepers
of elephants
Stable masters:
Josef Hack
Rubert Bemmerl
1981: Banda Vidane
Google map
Relevant literature

Circus Knie, located at St. Wendelinstrasse 10, in Rapperswil, Switzerland , was founded in 1919.

Comments / picturesThe circus is touring in summers and staying at winterquarters in Rapperswil Childrens Zoo in the village of Rapperswil South of Zürich.

The Knie showbusiness dynasty was founded in the early 19th century by an Austrian, Frederic Knie (1784-1850), whose family became famous as acrobats and tightwire performers in the village squares, working al fresco. It was not until Louis Knie (1842-1909) took his family and settled in Switzerland that his sons Rodolphe, Frederic, Charles and Eugene decided in 1919 to start a circus. Receiving no financial assistance from their widowed mother, they obtained credit from the Swiss tentmakers, Geisers, who gave them a two-poler big top, enabling them to open their travelling show on 1 June 1919 in Berne.
Obituary: Rolf Knie, by D Nevil

26 December 1900 immigrated Ludwig Knie (1842–1909) and his wife Marie Heim (1858–1936) and their five children in Gemeinde Gerlikon-Gachnang in Kanton Thurgau, and became Swiss citizens, and 1907, they settled in Rapperswil, by the Lake Zurich.

1944: 11 elephants, 1 hippo and 1 school horse went to National Circus Gebr. Knie from the Sarrasani together with Fritz Oehme trainer. Names: The 11 elephant bought by Knie from Sarrasani were: Menta, Tony, Rani, Herta, Punchy, Claudia, Maundy, Contess, Mary, Tarka and Frieda

1955: A famous elephant trainer who worked for Knie was Ruppert Bemmerl, 1931, in Steinach, Germany, who left Billy Smart’s Circus and joined Circus Knie in 1955. Bemmerl was also later responsible for Rappersville Kinderzoo.

Circus Knie in Switzerland Switzerland

Circus Knie in Switzerland Switzerland

In 1956, Rolf Knie had seven young African elephants in the ring, five of them from Basel Zoo.

The elephant live permanently in Knies Kinderzoo.

References for records about Circus Knie

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Circus Knie, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Circus Knie on

Circus Knie is mentioned on Elephant News:

DateLinks which opens in new window
Rolf knie, 75, elephant trainer and swiss circus family leader - Elephant News
2007-10-31A male asian born at oji zoo, kobe, japan on 21 october 2007 - Elephant News
2008-03-13Joey ratliff at buckles weblog: circus knie in switzerland - Elephant News
2012-03-22Swiss circus knie forces chubby elephants to diet - Elephant News

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