ROTTERDAM – In a nightclub on the Gravendijkwal, a 26-year-old dancer was attacked during a lion act. The woman could be brought to safety by a visitor. She had already been attacked twice by the predator. The victim is in a critical condition in the hospital.

The incident happened last night in nightclub l'Ambassadeur at the 's Gravendijkwal in Rotterdam. The 26-year-old nude dancer Johanna was part of the show by Austrian immersionist Alfred Burckhart.

Before the show, a lion cage was placed in the nightclub, with a diameter of 4,5 meter. Beside the tamer and lion Sultan was located also the dancer in the cage.

"I came in when the show had already started", Aad explains Measure out, who would later become the savior of women. "I had worked on the Visma and sat there talking to an exhibitor of the Visma. ”

“Suddenly I heard a terrible scream. The same moment I saw that the lion had jumped that woman. All visitors ran in wild panic door of the nightclub from. I was the only one left with the exhibitor, except the plunger, who beat the lion away with a stick. "

(Aad van Meeteren, Leeuwarder Courant, 26-04-1974)

The 31-year-old man tells how to get to the door of the cage ran when the lion jumped the woman a second time and bit her on the neck.

“It was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen. Again the immersionist got him into the corner and I opened the door, hold a single woman and pulled. Then jump lion for the third time. I could only just slam the door. The immersionist quickly got him out and I was able to drag the woman out through the door. ”

(Aad van Meeteren, Leeuwarder Courant, 26-04-1974)

Two others fleeing too close to the cage walked, got a hit from Sultan.


"I don't know exactly what happened", leaves Burckhart on Know the Free People. "Maybe Sultan (the lion, red.) from somewhere in shock.

“Johanna was wearing a new suit that night. With those glitters. She danced through the cage. And then suddenly it happened. He turned his claw. Probably after her veil, which was not completely still. Maybe Sultan thought it was a bird. ”

(Alfred Burckhardt, Het Vrije Volk, 26-04-1974)

In a reflex, Burckhart tried another stick in the mouth from Sultan. “Then lions cannot do anymore, but with its claws he had already beaten her like this. ” Furthermore, Burckhart explains that he has no carries a firearm during the performance.

Burckhart is full of praise for the intervention of Van Meeteren. "If he had not been there, Johanna had now been dead. Sultan now has alone just played a little. Ja, it sounds strange, but lions are like that terribly strong. ”

“All I thought was: that chick has to get out!”, Van Meeteren continues in Het Vrije Volk. “What you do then, you do not consciously hear. Ik dacht alleen maar: he bites her rotten. "

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Despite the nightclub being a few steps away from the Dijkzigt Hospital, after an hour no ambulance had arrived at the Gravendijkwal. Therefore, the victim is taken to it by normal car hospitalized.

In the hospital they are specialists busy for hours treating the injuries. "The doctor didn't give her much chance", late Burckhart in Het Vrije Volk know. “She had lost more than two liters of blood. I fear the worst, but as long as the phone does not ring, I know there is still hope is. ”

During previous visits, Van Meeteren had sometimes discussed the dancer talked about the act she was part of. "She does have me told four or five times to be afraid in the cage. If Burkhart was with her slightly less, but she was afraid ”,

Burckhart says he is not there was aware of it. "She should have said that", he explains in the Free People out. “If you are scared in the cage, such a bite immediately feels. Sultan may have noticed some of that. ”

Hoe ging het verder?

Johanna dies from her injuries for a few days. But the misery in this sad story is not even over.

Burckhart ordered the woman to be buried. But the account of 3000 guilders are then not paid. Burckhart says that he himself 5800 has golden credit from l'Ambassadeur.

The undertaker seizes the caravan and the delivery van from Burckhart and lion Sultan.

The seizure does not last long, because according to Burckhart is life-threatening if someone else feeds the lion. The animal was subsequently transferred to an animal park in Eindhoven, where Burckhart put it further care.

Burckhart falls ashore and eventually lives with a friend near the zoo. He no longer has assignments as a lion tamer. How it went with lion Sultan after that, is niet bekend.


Leeuwarder Courant – 26-04-1974 – "I don't understand yet that I had the courage’

Het Vrije Volk – 26-04-1974 – "I put my stick in Sultan's mouth’

The Telegraph – 26-04-1974 – Lion falls dancer (26) to

Author: Dave Datema

published: 24-04-2020

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