Hans Hermann Steinke was born on February 22, 1893 in Stettin, Germany. The son of a butcher, Steinke served as a private in the German Army during the First World War. Following his tour of duty, Hans went on to become an extremely powerful and formidable professional wrestler known as The German Oak.
Steinke moved to the United States in 1923. Among the notable wrestlers Steinke grappled in the ring with across North America are Jack Taylor, Ed Lewis, Stanislaus Zbyszko, Alf Dean, Earl McCready, Jim Browning, Ed Don George, and Milo Steinborn.
Moreover, Hans embarked on a brief acting career in the 1930's; he's especially creepy and memorable as brutish apeman Ouran in Island of Lost Souls (1932). Outside of acting and wrestling, Steinke also tried his hand at golf and boxing as well as worked in the cement contracting business.
A chain smoker throughout his entire life, Hans died at age 78 from lung cancer on June 26, 1971 in Chicago, Illinois.