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John Grün (Marx) died this date 1912


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John Grün (Marx) from Luxembourg died on this date, November 3, 1912. Already in 1909 in Holland did John Grün suffered from a serious stroke and among others things lost his voice. After this tragedy he did never come back as strongman again. During his last years he did gradualy lose his health and strength and finally died in Luxembourg.


Zeimet, F., 1989: John Grün, Muskelkraft und Welterfogl. Band 3 der Luxemburger Biographien.

(A superb book about John Grün )

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Is that book available in English? Can you confirm

for me that Marx was born Aug 27, 1868?

Also is there anything in the book to confirm Inch's

claim that Marx in his last years used to squeeze

the nurses hands and they would pretend he was

hurting them with his still powerful grip?

Does the book offer a chronology of his strength


Finally, I had heard he died in London; this is

incorrect according to this book?


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As of 1905 when Marx was still breaking horseshoes,

his weight was in the 235-242 ln range. Arne tells us

that in 1909 Marx began his physical problems, and

began to lose strength, so we can assume that

Houdini saw Marx in his prime, which so far as I know

was nothing close to 300 lbs. Indeed, as you know from

Super Athletes, DPW said that Marx was almost all

bone and muscle at 235-242.

Perhaps Houdini was not a good judge of such matters?

I have not seen Tom's site that you inserted, so will

check it out. Hopefully Arne will post more details. Marx

died at age 44, if he was born in 1868.

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Guest woody36


     Reading through my question again,i forgot to

add that Tom thought that there was no way Marx

could be the 300 pounds Houdini mentions.This is

what lead to my question of him maybe gaining weight

in later life.

Hope there was no confusion.

Best regards.

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Just read the web reference that Tom included

from Houdini. While entertaining, it is not of much

help. Verbs are very important when describing

lifting ability, so when Houdini offers that Marx

"...juggled hundreds, and toyed with thousands,

of pounds as a child plays with a rattle." one

wonders how much Marx could have lifted when

not playing around, tens of thousands?

This is not meant to disparge Marx, but to illustrate

how some descriptions of feats are worthless.

I have never seen a child hoist a rattle in a harness

lift, and then heard the parent describe that scene

as play.

Willoughby would never resort to such loose

descriptions, nor would Gaudreau, and we need to

maintain their standards. Just as we require scales to be accurate, or PDA's calibrations to be acurate, so

we should demand accuracy of description in lifting,

and while Houdini can be forgiven for his lack of

knowledge in these matters, it is not helpful when

he offers that Marx 'must have weighed' nearly 300

lbs (apparently because he 'looked like he did'?).

Perhaps someday our sport can imitate Houdini and

'escape' from the straighjacket of incorrect history.

Sorry if this sounds like a rant, but I think it is


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 I agree with you Joe, I only put the section that Houdini wrote because it was interesting that Houdini would be writing anything about Marx, and also that Houdini was known as a big skeptic and was impressed with Marx.  I guess so impressed that he added quite a few pounds to his weight!  Actually, I'm not even sure if Willoughby  was right with the 235 to 242 pounds.  I'm not sure how tall Marx was, but he does not look over 6 feet, and those numbers would be high for someone under 6 feet.

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This book is unfortunately only available in german. The book tells that he was born August 27, 1868. There is nothing in the book about "the squeeze-incidents on the hospital". The book offer many of his strength performances. John Grün's wife died in 1911 i London and was buried there and in the end of January 1912 a dying John Grün moved back to Luxembourg. J have found following about his weight and measurements: length 180 cm  (5'9"), weight 100 - 106 kg (220 - 233 lbs), chest 128 cm (50.4"), neck 47 cm (18 1/2"), upper arm 47 cm (18 1/2"), forearm 37 cm (14.6"), thigh 66 cm (26") and calf 43 cm (16.9"). This facts seems to be realistic for me. My father-in-law even tells me that his barbells and dumbbells and another weights still exist and are exhibited in a school in Bad Mondorf in Luxembourg. J can hardly wait to visit Luxembourg again and put my hands on his weights.

Roark, is it possible for me to get your e-mail adress?


According to the book, he ate nutritious food but in small portions, his alcohol consumtion was minimal and he didn´t smoke.

Arne Persson

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Thanks for the details! Hopefully Marx's two

thick handled dumbels will be among his artifacts

when you visit. Please get photos.

I have sent you a message thru the board


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I'd  send you an e-mail with some scanned pictures from the book but I got it back with the following error message (Returned mail: Service unavailable). Do you have an another e-mail adress?

Arne Persson

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  Did you want all those smileys in your post?  I can fix them in the moderator mode if you would like, they are really confusing.  Just put a space between the quote and the " )"  

Example with no space: "),

Example with space: " ),

As far as the measurements, a 50.4" and a 18.5" arm, he didn't look that big too me.

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Please REMOVE ALL the smileys.

Thank you!

Arne Persson

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