I first learned of the Konyot family through professor Ron Beadle, a renowned British circademic and a descendant of the Konyot and Blumenfeld families. This family branch originated with Lipot (Leopold) Konyot, whose original last name – according to Beadle – was Cohen/Cohn. Pretty much the most Jewish last name one can think of!
Lipot married Henrietta Blumenfeld (of the Jewish circus dynasty Blumenfeld), and together they had 12 children: Alexander Sandor (b.1874), Amalie (b.1875), Kathy (b.1876), Amanda (b.1878), Adolph (b.1879), Pepita (b.1881), Max (b.1883), Olympia (b.1885), Gertrude (b.1887), Arthur (b.1888), Alphons (b.1890) and Oscar (b.1897).
Mr. Beadle, a descendant of Sandor, introduced me first to his great-aunt Olympia and her husband Alfons Blumenfeld, who both perished in Auschwitz with their daughter Ruth. But more on that in another post… In this post I will focus on Lipot’s son Arthur, a giant of the Equestrian Arts, and his world-spanning career.
Arthur Konyot was born on December 9th 1888, in his words “like most people of old circus parentage […] on the road”, in his parents’ wagon while their circus, Circus Leopold, was on tour in Sopron, Hungary.
When he was a young teen Arthur’s father became ill, and his mother Arthur and his Henrietta and his oldest brother brother Sandor took over the management. All 12 siblings were trained as bareback riders, and each sibling trained in additional specialties such as wire-walking, ballet and music. Arthur and his brother Adolph became horse trainers.
In 1903 the German Circus Busch hired “The Famous Four Konyots” – the star troupe of Circus Leopold made up of Arthur and his siblings Adolph, Max ad Olympia. At the age of 15, Arthu was on his first (non-family) circus contract, performing with Circus Busch in Berlin, Hamburg, Breslau and Vienna. In was there, in Vienna in 1907, that John Ringling saw the troupe and sought to contract them to perform in his newly acquired Barnum & Bailey Circus…
Read the Full Article at The Escape Act’s Blog