Circus Strassburger in Netherlands

Circus Strassburger
Strassburger-Orlando, Sundsvall, 1938
Strassburger-Orlando, Sundsvall, 1938


Owner -: Leopold Strassburger
1917: Leopold Strassburger
1917-1953: Adolf Strassburger Jr.
1919-: Karl Strassburger
Last elephant left1963
Closed down1963
Address Hilversum
Country Netherlands

Directors: Regina Strassburger (director)
: Elly Strassburger (director)
-1918: Wilhelmine Strassburger (assistant director)

Key People-1935: Henriette Strassburger (animal trainer)
-1935: Adolph Strassburger (animal trainer)
-1935: Bella Babusiau (animal trainer)
-: Jean Hoppe (animal trainer)
-: Salomon Strassburger (artist)
-: Amalie Koch (artist)
-: Amanda Strassburger (animal trainer)
-: Clarissa Strassburger (animal trainer)
-: Caroline Strassburger (artist)
-: Jeanette Blumenfeld (artist)
-1935: Hugo Strassburger (animal trainer)
-1935: Theresa Jansen (animal trainer)
-1935: Lina Strassburger (animal trainer)
1898-: Heinrich Gasser (artist)
1916-1916: Richard Sawade (animal trainer)
1917-1943: Hans Strassburger (animal trainer)
1923: Hans Brick (animal trainer)


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History of updates2023-11-02

Latest document update2023-11-02 10:41:17
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Circus Strassburger, located at Hilversum, Netherlands . The last elephant left in 1963. Circus Strassburger closed down in 1963.

Comments / picturesThe family Strassburger had origin from Alsace (german Elsass) in present France. Strassburger were known for their liberty acts with up to hundred and twenty (!) horses divided over 3 rings and also for their Olympiads, chariot races.

1916: The circus, including tent, 63 horses and 3 elephants during tour in Norway, was sold to Lorenz Hagenbeck, and was renamed Circus Carl Hagenbeck - Stellingen.

1917: After WW1 Adolf Strassburger and his brother Leopold Strassburger started a new circus Strassburger in Germany. This circus later expanded to one of Europes largest circuses, which for some years toured with 2 different lines.

1919: Adolf Strassburger died.

Adolfs son, Leopold Karl Strassburger, took over the circus and married his cousin, Leopolds (Adolfs brother) daughter Regina Strassburger, and together with Reginas sister Elly Strassburger and Karls brother Hans Strassburger they brought the circus into one of the largest in Europe, travelling in two units.

Circus Strassburger in Netherlands Netherlands

Elephants at Strassburgers 1920.

1927 and 1929: One of the unit lines toured Sweden with a three-ring circus on Circus Mijares-Schreiber.

During the 1927 tour, elephant Bambina died on tour in Karlskoga or örebro, Sweden.
Her grave and a stone statue is at the animal cemetry Franciskuslunden in Örebro, Sweden.

1927-07-27:Big loss for Cirkus Strassburger. During Cirkus Strassburger\'s visit to Örebro, one of the company\'s nine elephants died. A German veterinarian who was telegraphed late arrived to save the precious animal. The cause of death was anemia, in addition to the animal, an 18- to 20-year-old female, also suffering from Pulmonary Tuberculosis, ,airborne Zoonotic disease (Infectious to humans)'>Tuberculosis. Before the elephant was buried, about 200 kg was recovered on behalf of Karolinska University. weighing the head, which after necessary processing must be incorporated into the university\'s zoological museum either stuffed or as a Skull.

Original Swedish:
Stor förlust för Cirkus Strassburger. Under Cirkus Strassburgers besök i Örebro har en av sällskapets nio elefanter avlidit. En tysk veterinär som eftertelegraferats kom för sent för att rädda det dyrbara djuret. Dödsorsaken var anemi, varjämte djuret, en 18-à 20-årig hona, även led av lungtuberkulos. Innan elefanten grävdes ned tillvaratogs för Karolinska läroverkets räkning, det omkring 200 kg. vägande huvudet, som efter nödig bearbetning skall införlivas med läroverkets zoologiska museum endera uppstoppat eller som kranium.
Västmanlands Folkblad

1933: Adolf Hitler became Reichskanzeler in Germany, and the Strassburgers had jewish origin.

1935: "Verordnung zu amtlichen Ariernachweisen" was established, where circus families should testify their arish origin. Adolf Strassburger decided to leave Germany, and sold his circus again, to Paula Busch and Emil Wacker.

1936: After he sold his circus, Karl Strassburger moved to Holland.

1938: Toured Sweden with Henning Orlando under the name Cirkus Orlando-Strassburger.

World war II and Circus Mikkenie-Strassburger

Circus Strassburger in Netherlands Netherlands
Karl Strassburger performed until into the German occupation of Holland in 1940, and even during the occupation as Circus Mikkenie, where Frans Mikkenie, a non-Jewish Dutch circus man, officially ran the circus.

1943: In the spring of 1943, Hans Strassburger left the Netherlands to work for Circus Busch (Paul Busch) in Breslau. He presented own animal groups and performed an equestrian act together with Micaela Busch at Circus Busch. In the same year Hans Strassburger was drafted into the Wehrmacht. After a few months, he was released from the army service and returned to the Circus Busch and his animals.
In November 1943, Micaela learned that she had been reported to the Gestapo. Her private secretary had accused her of favoring Jews.
Micaela Busch decided to flee and left Germany with her son Paul Busch Jr. and Hans Strassburger. This was achieved with the support of the siblings Gilbert, Sacha, and Nadia Houcke, who presented their trained animals at the Circus Busch. The Houckes, who came from an old circus aristocracy, had not only the French but also the Swedish citizenship and operated a small circus at Furuviksparken, a zoo and amusement park in Gävle, situated at central Sweden’s East Cost.
The Group from Breslau arrived to Furviksparken in Gävle with horses, elephants, and tigers.

In the post-war period, Micaela Busch and Hans Strassburger founded the Suecia circus. This was a company designed to lease trained animal groups, either presented by Micaela and Hans Strassburger or rented out without their show participation to other circuses.
Johanna Prantz, Micaela Busch (1913–1969) The Tragic Story Of Germany’s Youngest Equestrienne

After World war II

The Strassburgers continued with Circus building Carré as their main playing ground after the war, becoming the Royal Dutch Circus when both Queen Wilhelmina and her daughter Juliana started frequenting the circus. Julianas husband Prince Bernhard (recently deceased) and his mother Princess Armgard were already avid circusfans that would not miss any performances of this great circus.

Circus Strassburger in Netherlands Netherlands
1952: 3 elephants on a photograph from Amsterdam.

Circus Strassburger in Netherlands Netherlands

Picture from Henry Strassburger and Jose Mullens marriage in 1952.

1953: Toured in Sweden again, in cooperation with Cirkus Mijares-Schreiber.

Death of Karl Strassburger

1953-05-07: During the Swedish tour, Karl Strassburger died by drowning in the town Trelleborg. Officially because of heart problems, but a Swedish doctor from Goethenburg, who made a health check one months before, wrote that the heart and blood pressure was good. The Swedish circus historian Alf Danielsson, writes that there was a general opinion within the circus people that Karl Strassburger committed suicide.

Regina and Elly Strassburger

After Karl Strassburgs death, the sisters Regina Strassburger and Elly Strassburger tok over the management of the circus.

Circus Strassburger in Netherlands NetherlandsStrassburgers elephants at Schagen Market in 1954.

1955 and 1955: Strassburger toured with Circus Scott in Sweden.

Their winter quarters were in Hilversum, Holland. Last of the wonderful Strassburgers performing was Wilhelmine Sophia Eleonora Elly Strassburger (1910-1988) who had ran the circus in its last years with her sister Regina Strassburger (21.4.1967-15.10.2004), daughter of Leopold Strassburger (cousin of founder Hans Strassburger) and Julie Strassburger (Juliette Kossmayer Holzmüller).

1958: Elly Strassburger married tiger trainer Harry Belli, in 1957.

Circus Strassburger in Netherlands Netherlands

1958: A. Strassburger at Circus Scott in Sweden 1958.

1960: Toured europe together with Circus Sarrasani.

In 1961, '62 and '63 (??, se down) the Circus Strassburger did not go on tour, but in those years Harry Belli went on tour in Holland as Circus Belli.

1963: The final performance of Circus Strassburger was in 1963 in Holland.

1964: Regina Strassburger died.

Harry Belli performed with Circus Belli until 1966, and performed on other circuses until 1975 and was famous for his tiger on a horse act.

Karl and Reginas daughter Gisele Strassburger runs a leasure park in Stuckenbrock, near Bielefeld in Germany, where Elly Strassburger spent her last days. Elly is buried in Hilversum, Holland.

References for records about Circus Strassburger

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Circus Strassburger, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Natasha Gerson
  • Cirkusliv, by Alf Danielsson, 1974
  • Johanna Prantz, Micaela Busch (1913–1969) The Tragic Story Of Germany’s Youngest Equestrienne,
  • Busch, Paul: Mein Leben – Ein Zirkus. Berlin 2001.
  • Busch, Paula: Das Spiel meines Lebens. Erinnerungen. Berlin 1992.
  • Nissing, Herbert St.: Strassburger. Geschichte eines jüdischen Zirkus. Dormagen 1993.
  • Winkler, Gisela: Zirkus Busch. Geschichte einer Manege in Berlin. Berlin 1998.

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