Wrestler Hans Steinke Original 1923 Photo w/ Josef Dustal


Original press photograph in excellent condition with original paper caption and stamps verso. Measures 8 1/2 inches x 6 1/2 inches, sharp corners, no folds or creases, clean. Depicts Hans Steinke in training with Josef Dustal at George Bothners Gym in New York City. Great photo image.

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Hans Hermann Steinke was born on February 22, 1893 in Stettin, Germany. The son of a butcher, Steinke served as a private in the German Army during the First World War. Following his tour of duty, Hans went on to become an extremely powerful and formidable professional wrestler known as The German Oak. Steinke moved to the United States in 1923. Among the notable wrestlers Steinke grappled in the ring with across North America are Jack Taylor, Ed LewisStanislaus ZbyszkoAlf DeanEarl McCready, Jim Browning, Ed Don George, and Milo Steinborn. Moreover, Hans embarked on a brief acting career in the 1930’s; he’s especially creepy and memorable as brutish apeman Ouran in Island of Lost Souls (1932). Outside of acting and wrestling, Steinke also tried his hand at golf and boxing as well as worked in the cement contracting business. A chain smoker throughout his entire life, Hans died at age 78 from lung cancer on June 26, 1971 in Chicago, Illinois.

June 27, 1971 New York Times

CHICAGO, June 26 CAP)— Hans Steinke, a famed professional wrestler through the twenties and, thirties, died to day of Iung cancer. He was 78 years old. Mr. Steinke began his career in Germany, where he was born, and won renown as “The German Oak.” He came to this country in 1923 and wrestled until his retirement in 1940. Mr. Steinke appeared in a dozen or so movies as a supporting actor. In recent years he was in the cement‐contracting business. He is survived by, his widow, Betty, and a daughter, Mrs. Anne‐Marie Rassilyer.

‘As Wild As In Chess’    John Lardner, the sports columnist, commented in an article in The New York Times Maga zine in 1954 that “the action in honest pro wrestling is just as wild as in chess.” “As a boy,” he noted, “I saw Hans Steinke and Stanislaus Zbyszko wrestle honestly in hall in Great Neck, L.I. At 10:45, when my family took me home, without resistance, the pachyderms had moved once in half an hour—when Steinke’s nose twitched.” Mr. Steinke, a giant of a man, weighing 240 pounds at his prime, did a good deal more than merely twitch his nose. In one match, according to an ac count in The Times, he “scored one of the most surprising wrestling victories of the sea son” when he pinned Zbyszko’s shoulders to the mat when his own defeat seemed near.