German expedition to Tibet led by Ernst Schäfer, 1938-1939

Ernst Schäfer, Seven years in Tibet, famed German hunter and zoologist 11

The 1938-1939 German Expedition to Tibet was a May 1938 – August 1939 German scientific expedition led by German zoologist and SS officer Ernst Schäfer. Schäfer’s primary objective for the expedition was the creation of a complete scientific record of Tibet, through a synthesis of geology, botany, zoology, and ethnology, referred to in the German science of the day as “holism.”

The Reichsführer-SS Himmler was attempting to avail himself of the reputation of Ernst Schäfer for Nazi propaganda and asked about his future plans. Ernst Schäfer responded he wanted to lead another expedition to Tibet. Ernst Schäfer wished his expedition to be under the patronage of the cultural department of the foreign affairs or of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (“German Research Foundation”) as indicated by his requests. Himmler was fascinated by Asian mysticism and therefore wished to send such an expedition under the auspices of the SS Ahnenerbe (SS Ancestral Heritage Society), and desired that Schäfer perform research based on Hans Hörbiger’s pseudo-scientific theory of “Glacial Cosmogony” promoted by the Ahnenerbe. Schäfer had scientific objectives, and he therefore refused to include Edmund Kiss, an adept of this theory, in his team, and requested 12 conditions to obtain scientific freedom. Wolfram Sievers from the Ahnenerbe therefore expressed criticism concerning the objectives of the expedition, so that Ahnenerbe would not sponsor it. Himmler accepted the expedition to be organized on the condition that all its members become SS. In order to succeed in his expedition, Schäfer had to compromise.

While preparing the expedition, Ernst Schäfer used the term “Schaefer Expedition 1938/1939″ on his letterhead and to apply for sponsorship from businessmen. However, the official name had to be changed on order of the “Ahnenerbe” to “German Tibet-Expedition Ernst Schaefer” (in big letters), “under the patronage of the Reichsführer-SS Himmler and in connection with the Ahnenerbe” (in small letters).

Ernst Schäfer was a member of the SS when he showed up at the German consulate in Chung-King in 1935. Schäfer had just returned from a trip through parts of Asia, mainly India and China, in which the other two heads of the expedition had abandoned him in fear of native tribes. Schäfer turned the expedition from a complete failure into a great success, and the SS took note, sending him a letter informing him of a promotion to SS-Untersturmführer and summoning him back to Germany from Philadelphia where he was organizing the collection from his voyage. In June 1936, Schäfer met with Himmler, who consequently informed Sievers and Galke to start organizing an expedition to Tibet.

Schäfer recruited young, fit men who would be well suited for an arduous journey At age 24, Karl Wienert (an assistant of Wilhelm Filchner, a famous explorer) was the team’s geologist. Also age 24, Edmund Geer was selected as the technical leader to organize the expedition. A relatively old teammate at the age of 38 was Ernst Krause (not to be confused with the German biologist of the same name) was to double as a filmmaker and entomologist. Bruno Beger was a 26-year-old Rassekunde expert and student of Hans F.K. Günther’s who was to be the team’s anthropologist.

The official plan of the expedition included research on the landforms, climate, geography, and culture of the region and contacting the local authorities for the establishment of representation in the country. There have been allegations that one of the expedition’s purposes was to determine whether Tibet was the cradle of the Aryan race. The taking of cranial measurements and making of facial casts of local people by anthropologist Bruno Beger did little to dissipate the allegations.

After being given two complimentary letters – one to Hitler and the other to Himmler, Schäfer and his companions left Lhasa in August 1939 They also took with them two presents for Hitler consisting of a Lhama dress and a hunting dog, as well as a copy of the Tibetan “Bible”, the 120-volume Kangyur.

The Germans collected anything they could: thousands of artefacts, a huge number of plants and animals, including live specimens. They sent back specimens of three breeds of Tibetan dogs, rare feline species, wolves, badgers, foxes, animal and bird skins. The expedition members collected a huge quantity of plants, in particular hundreds of varieties of barley, wheat, oats. The seeds were later stored in the SS-Institute for Plant Genetics in Lannach near Graz, Austria, a research centre run by SS botanist Heinz Brücker. Brücher entertained hopes of using both the Tibet collection and that of the Vavilev Institute in the Eastern territories to select crop plants able to withstand the climate of Eastern Europe – considered at the time as part of the Nazi Lebensraum or “living space” – with a view to reaching autarky.

Wienert took four sets of geomagnetic data. Krause studied Tibetan wasps. Schäfer observed Tibetan rituals, including sky burials (he even bought some human skulls). They took stills and film footage of local culture, notably the spectacular New Year celebrations when tens of thousands of pilgrims flocked to Lhasa. Bruno Beger recorded the measurements of 376 people and took casts of the heads, faces, hands and ears of 17 more, as well as fingerprints and hand prints from another 350. To carry out his research, he posed as a medicine man to win the favour of Tibetan aristocrats, dispensing drugs and tending to monks with sexually transmitted diseases.

Schäfer kept meticulous notes on the religious and cultural customs of the Tibetans, from their various colorful Buddhist festivals to Tibetan attitudes towards marriage, rape, menstruation, childbirth, homosexuality and masturbation. In his account of Tibetan homosexuality he describes the various positions taken by older lamas with younger boys and then goes on to to explain how homosexuality played an important role in the higher politics of Tibet. There are pages of careful observation of Himalayan people engaged in a variety of intimate acts.

Ernst Schäfer, Seven years in Tibet, famed German hunter and zoologist

    • Lovw and light to you too, Och ett je4tte tack ff6r din bloggaranda, det e4r se5 myekct te4nkve4rt som du skriver och e4ven le4nkar till! Hoppas du fe5r se ne5gon snf6 f6ver helgen, he4r nere ser det ut som att den blir ganska grf6n, tyve4rr, men det e ju vi sje4lva som beste4mmer om det skall bli mildare vintrar eller ej. se5e5e5…Skf6nt, tyckte jag att hf6ra( pe5 radion) att julkommersen brf6t nacken lite, kanske, kanske har folk bf6rjat att reflektera f6ver vad som kf6ps, behf6vs och kre4vs, den f6nskningen kommer iallafall e5ter igen att vara bland mina nye5rsf6nskningar, och blir det bara tillre4ckligt me5nga som te4nker samma tanke se5. Ha det se5 gott och en riktigt God Jul och Gott slut/ Julkram Marika

  1. Sadly for many after everything is finalized they are left not understanding what to accomplish next, and still in a very nasty financial situation ugg tall classic sale chase home loan modification is easier and more beneficial laptop or computer ever has been for your typical homeowner.

  2. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. That is an extremely neatly written article.

    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more
    of your helpful info. Thank you for the post.

    I’ll definitely return.

    Feel free to surf to my page: prednisone

  3. The increase was primarily due with a tax benefit of $277 million in connection with the elimination of the
    valuation allowance against its deferred tax asset concert dates instant loans today are
    temporary loan scheme which offers financial assistance to people during their monetary crisis.

  4. If you possess a good relationship with your individual bank they could be happy to offer that you simply bank card mirage tour
    many still owe money on the homes, don’t possess any
    savings and have little or no money inside a retirement account.

  5. The cash advance market is usually not viewed with much respect,
    and is also perceived by most to become controlled by ruthless loan sharks november with the skills with this monetary service, the borrower can pay off pending debts with risk-free funds.

  6. I simply want to tell you that I am just very new to weblog and seriously liked your web blog. Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your site . You definitely have really good articles. Appreciate it for sharing with us your website page.

  7. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting
    comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    My web-site: cialis in canada

  8. Some lenders have low loan limits like $500, while other lenders offer approximately $1500
    billy joelk
    unidentified participant okay, alright the 2nd question is merely in terms from the
    opportunities associated while using assets which can be being
    spun out.

  9. Pingback: Google
  10. Pingback: Google
  11. Pingback: ground coffee
  12. Pingback: pure kona coffee
  13. Pingback: Google
  14. Pingback: kona coffee
  15. Pingback: ground coffee
  16. Pingback: gourmet coffee
  17. Pingback: gourmet coffee
  18. Pingback: kona coffee
  19. Pingback: kona coffee
  20. Pingback: ground coffee
  21. Pingback: kona coffee
  22. Pingback: kona coffee

Comments are closed.