Catharina “Katie Sandwina” <I>Brumbach</I> Heymann

Catharina “Katie Sandwina” Brumbach Heymann

Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Death 21 Jan 1952 (aged 67–68)
Burial Richmond, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA
Memorial ID 188728488 · View Source
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KATIE SANDWINA (1884 – 1952)
Circus Strongwoman

Katie Sandwina (1884 – January 21, 1952), born Catharina Brumbach in Vienna, Austria, was a circus strongwoman.

Katie Brumbach was one of fourteen children born to circus performers Philippe and Johanna Brumbach. In her early years, Katie performed with her family. Katie's father would offer one hundred marks to any man in the audience who could defeat her in wrestling; no one ever succeeded in winning the prize. It was during one such performance that Katie met her husband of fifty-two years, Max Heymann.

Brumbach once defeated the famous strongman Eugene Sandow in a weightlifting contest in New York City. Katie lifted a weight of 300 pounds over her head, which Sandow only managed to lift to his chest. After this victory, she adopted the stage name "Sandwina" as a feminine derivative of Sandow.

Sandwina worked in the United States with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for many years, until she was nearly 60. One of her standard performance feats was lifting her husband (who weighed 165 pounds) overhead with one hand. She performed many other feats, such as bending steel bars and resisting the pull of four horses. Sandwina's record stood for many years until being eclipsed by women's weightlifter Karyn Marshall in 1987.

Reporter Marguerite Martyn described her act when the circus came to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1911:

At the moment she was twirling her husband about in dizzy circles above her head . . . . Carelessly, laughingly, she tosses her husband about as though he were not flesh and bone, but merely an effigy of inflated rubber. And he is no insignificant husband, either.

The couple had two sons: Theodore Sandwina, born in Sioux City, Iowa, who was a champion heavyweight boxer in the 1920s; and Alfred Sandwina, who was an actor.

In her later years, Katie and her husband operated a restaurant in New York.

Katie Sandwina died of cancer on January 21, 1952.



On Kati's SS application and other US government docs she always gave her place of birth as Essen, Germany. She is buried in Mt. Richmond Cemetery, the Jewish Cemetery on Staten Island.
Information submitted by: Jan Todd (ID# 49615489)

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  • Created by: Teresa Richey
  • Added: 11 Apr 2018
  • Find a Grave Memorial 188728488
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Catharina “Katie Sandwina” Brumbach Heymann (1884–21 Jan 1952), Find a Grave Memorial no. 188728488, citing Mount Richmond Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA ; Maintained by Teresa Richey (contributor 48920838) Burial Details Unknown.