Josef "Seppi" Hack , circus elephant trainer in
Born 1904 in Germany
dead 1991-03-25 in Germany
Hack started his career with elephants as bullhand at Circus Hagenbeck, continued to Firma Ruhe where he 1934 fetched 16 elephants Ruhe bought from Cirkus Kludsky after their bankrupsy. He delivered the elephants, four bulls (Piccolo, Borneo, Charly, +1) and 12 cows, to the byer Circus Amar in France 1934-02-22, where he remained some years and showed them in the ring.
Thanks to Mr Adrian who gave me informations from Gustave Soury who always took notes of the animals in the circus and zoo he attended, I have got the complete list of the (X = Mary?) Herd
bought by Amar. The bulls were: Charley, Piccolo, Bosco and Borneo. The cows: Sumatra, Baby, Poutchy, Burma I et II ,
Ceylon, Java, Vebus, Diana, Bombay, Mouly and X?
Christian Hamel, France, 2010
1937: Haak also starred in the film Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal with the Amar elephants.
1938-1939: In the winter 1938/1939, 8 of the Amars elephants where on tour with Circus Strassburger in Sweden, under Josef Hack. Mary gave birth to another calf from Piccolo during this winter (Christian Hamel)
1939: In 1939 Circus Strassburger was traveling through The Netherlands and was performing in Amsterdam in November of that year. An exhibtion building was used as shelter for the animals and on November 22, Birma gave birth to Gina. (Gerald Postma)
After working for Amar, he came to Munich Zoo and Circus Knie in Switzerland.
From 1953 Hack cared for and trained the African bull elephant Tembo on Circus Knie, who came same year from Basel Zoo and in 1962 Hack presented four of Knies elephants in England.
Joseph Hack with Tembo at Blackpool Tower Circus in England. Tembo was sold through Firma Ruhe to Zoo Hannover in 1963, where he sired four babies.
On 15 February 1963 the first birth of an Asian elephant in Switzerland was announced: Sahib-Fridolin was the son of Circus Knies elephants Ceylon and Siam. The baby elephant was hand-reared by Josef Hack and his wife with the bottle because Ceylon had no milk and she died only three months after giving birth.
1967-04-08: two youngsters in the town Mannheim put Circus Krones elephant tent on fire, and the 14 elephants were saved, but eight of them were burned severely, and six of the eight with second Grade
of firewounds, died, or had to be euthanised. During a shorter period after the tent fire, Hack took care of the burned elephants at Circus Krone in Munich.
Josef Hack was one of the foremost experienced keepers and trainers of elephants in Europe, he worked over 100 elephants, and was present at six births during a time when they were sensationally rare, among them the first birth of an African elephant in captivity
Known pupils to Josef Hack was Wolfgang Ramin
and Ruppert Bemmerl.
He had the daughter Erna Kröger in Hamburg.