In the early 1970’s, my grandfather Al Rosenstock would tell me wild stories about his uncle Mendel Rosenstock, a strongman in the circus who could pull airplanes together with bare hands.. For years, I never knew if my grandfather had made up the stories, or highly exagerated them.. Recently, I asked my great Aunt Martha, (my grandfather’s sister, who’s 96 and sharp as a tack) about her famous uncle, and whether or not the stories were true.. She told me that her uncle Mendel DEFINITELY existed, and went by the name of “Max the Shtarker”, or “Max the Strongman”.. After a little internet hunting, I stumbled upon these amazing photos of my great uncle Max Rosenstock from 1928, as well as this mention in the Jewish Daily Forward from 1931..
Jewish Daily Forward Apr, 20, 1931..
JEWISH GIANT, MAX ROSENSTOCK, WILL START TODAY HIS MIRACULOUS PERFORMANCES
The famous Jewish giant from Rumania, Max Rosenstock, known as the strongest man in the world, will appear today in a number of heroic performances, at the Elite Club, corner Springfield and Roosevelt Rd.One of the most wonderful performances is when he is chained and put into a tight closed box nailed with huge nails. He very easily opens the lid and walks out of the box as if nothing happened. The same evening in a special program, will also participate many Jewish radio and stage stars who will render very interesting and amusing numbers.
This vintage shot shows Max Rosenstock “the village blacksmith” as he claims the title of America’s strong man in a demonstration in Hollenbeck Park. To prove his claim he held an inch and a half thick steel rod while members of the Los Angeles police force twisted it around him.