Hans Brick

From the list of elephant persons Family: Brick

Hans Brick
Hans  Brick
Elephant training at Chessington. Mr Hans Brick, who has trained Rosie, an Indian elephant in under a month. April 11th 1933.
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Personal details
Country United Kingdom

Title elephant trainer 1939-1943
Location at Wilson's Zoo in United Kingdom

Title elephant trainer 1932-1934
Location at Chessington World of Adventures (Chessington Zoo) in United Kingdom

Title animal trainer 1923
Location at Circus Strassburger in Netherlands

Title animal trainer
Location at Circus Nikulin (Circus Salamonsky) in Russia

Title animal trainer
Location at Circus Blumenfeld in Germany

Relevant literature
Biography details

Hans Brick , circus animal trainer in United Kingdom

Born 1889-11-04 in Germany dead 1972-08-22 in United Arab Emirates .

Records about Hans Brick from Circus History Bandwagon at http://www.classic.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/BW.htm
Hans Brick was a wild animal trainer in the late 1800\'s up until middle 1950\'s he started the zoo at Chessington. Born in 1889 in Germany he was brought up in the circus world in Europe. He did clowning, trapeze, high wire, you name it he did it - but his main interests were to do with wild animals. Circus Strassburger 1923, Circus Blumenfeld, Busch, and I think its Salamonski.

His father was Italian and was killed by a tiger and the shock led to his mother who was of "Dutch origin" going into an early labour and she died in childbirth. Friends of his mother a Heindrick & Babette Neunzer looked after him until it was sorted as to what sould happen to the child. As his father before his death had made arrangements for a friend named Adler to bring the child up if anything was to happen to himself or the mother so he was put in his guardianship for which he spent the rest of his working life on circuses in Europe and travelled the world. He came to England in 1932 also started the zoo at Burnt Stubs Chessington in 1932/1934,he worked on all major Circuses in England Ireland & the channel isles until internment in 1939 on the Isle of Man. My mother & myself were liveing in "Wilson Zoo in Glasgow" until he was released from the Isle of man and he came to Glasgow where my younger brother and sister were born, thats where he met Eddie Campbell but left Wilsons Zoo in 1943. From there we went to different Circus\'s with his Lion Habibi, He trained all sorts of animals for the Tarzan films and other films he worked with Rosair\'s Circus,Pinders Circus, Trevor Bales Circus, Chipperfields, Robert Brothers, and did theatre\'s with his chimp George (Mainly the Empire Theatre\'s) He wrote the book "Jungle be gentle" 1960 and the American version named "Nature of the beast" was released in 1962 I have origanal copies of both books it is not an autobiography it is of what he knew about animal training. he retired in1956 after 67 years in circus but carried on working voluntary with animals whenever anyone asked him for advice.He was a very clever man.
-Clive Neunzer, England (Son)

To Richard Reynolds

I am flattered that Mr. Reynolds thought that I could help in answering his question about Hans Brick. My knowledge of Hans Brick's name is limited to seeing it in connection with animal training, but I don't remember exactly where. Mr. Reynolds' question has certainly piqued my interest.

If you would you please convey the following information on Hans Brick to Mr. Reynolds.

The original book that Mr. Reynolds refers to "Jungle Be Good" was indeed published in Great Britain in 1960. In 1962, Crown Publishers published an American edition of Hans Brick's book under the title of "The Nature Of The Beast". There is a copy of the American edition currently up for sale on eBay.

There is some speculation ! that Hans Brick did not write "Jungle Be Good" himself, and that it may have been written by a close friend, Edward Campbell, a respected British journalist. Mr. Campbell had a passion for the circus and was acknowledged as an authority on the training of wild animals. He even trained a mixed cage act himself, consisting of several lions an a bear, to demonstrate that animals could be trained humanely.

A review of "Jungle Be Good" said that the book is more of a primer on animal training than an autobiography of Hans Brick's life.

I did a "Google" search of Hans Brick. The Internet offered little information. There was almost no biographical information on Hans Brick. The bulk of the information that I found comes from the text of a lecture delivered by Edward! Campbell in 1971, titled "Some Unusual Aspects of Communication".&nbs p; Here are the few items that I found...

He was German born. His family had a tradition of handling and training wild animals. Hans Brick was a gifted animal trainer, and spent the majority his life observing, trapping, and training a variety of animals.

During World War II he was interned on the Isle of Man as a German National. In 1943 Hans Brick trained and supplied animals for the production of the Pinewood Studios film "The Dark Tower".

I also found what appears to be a statement of Hans Brick's philosophy on animal training..."Breakers and trainers in general are innate animal-lovers. Do not force your friendship on any animal, but make your friendship available at all times". That is the Hans Brick's golden rule.

The most interesting item I found was that Hans Brick taught a lion to fetch, just like a dog. He trained his favorite lion, Habibi to launch a "dart" from a spring loaded gun, chase after it, then return with it and lay the "dart" at Hans Brick's Feet.

Hans Brick died at age 72 on August 22, 1972 in Middlesex, England.

There were some inconsistencies in some of the information I found. There was a statement that said his father, an animal trainer was killed by a tiger while at the Nouma Hava Menagerie (Italy) in 1889. If Hans Brick died at age 72 in 1972, the date of his birth would be around 1900. The math there does not add up. Another item said that Hans Brick built the circus at Chessington. The number of animals that were quoted in the fol! lowing sentence, " Stock is 406 mammals in 103 species; 568 birds in 136 species; 28 reptiles and amphibians in 19 and 58 Species respectively", leads me to believe that it may have been a zoo and not a circus. As a trapper, maybe Hans Brick supplied the animals for the zoo.

I believe Circus Richter is a Hungarian Circus. If memory serves, members of the Richter Family appeared with the Ringling Brothers sponsored tour of the "Monte Carlo Circus Spectacular in 1979 and with Ringling Brothers Circus in 1980-81. The Richters presented two acts, an elephant specialty act and also performed a bareback horse riding act. As far as Circus Novacek, I have nothing.


Hans Brick went by the name Neunzer and his son is living in a small village in Northampton shire England (Anon)

The following two pictures are probably with Hans Brick and the elephant Rosie
Hans  Brick
Hans  Brick

Chessington Zoo sold an elephant called Comet to Togni’s. This was a trained elephant that worked with two others in the zoo and also at theatres. I would have to check my notes at home, but I would think this was around 1951. Hanz Brik trained the elephant originally.
-Jim Clubb, UK.

1972: Death of Hans Brick at the age of 72 on 22nd August in Middlesex. He had built the circus at Chessington.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). animal trainer Hans Brick in United Kingdom. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 23 May 2024 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=1175. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Selected publications
  • Jungle be gentle, 1960

Links about Hans Brick

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Categories animal trainer | circus | Wilson\'s Zoo | Brick family | Born 1889 | Dead 1972 | People from United Kingdom

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