Heinrich Harrer - Telegraph
Austrian explorer Heinrich Harrer's long and rocky life, from Hitler's elite SS Their final meeting was last summer when the Dalai Lama visited Germany to. Heinrich Harrer was an Austrian mountaineer, sportsman, geographer, and author. He is best As a result, Harrer did not participate. . Harrer first met the 14th Dalai Lama when he was summoned to the Potala Palace and asked to make a. Heinrich Harrer, a swashbuckling explorer who told of his magical life of . The two met periodically over the years, but the Dalai Lama did not.
Harrer was born in Huttenberg in the Austrian province of Carinthia, and studied geography and sports at the Karl Franzen University in Graz. He competed as a skier in the winter Olympics, and ascended the Eiger two years later.
His book, The White Spider, about his own Eiger climb and that of earlier and later ascents, was published in Whether he believed in Nazi ideology or was just politically naive, it seems likely that the connection helped secure him a place on a joint German-Austrian expedition to the Himalayas.
After escaping from the British, he and Aufschnaiter spent more than a year roaming the fringes of Tibet where local officials refused them permission to head towards Lhasa. Finally they pretended to obey orders to leave; instead they fled eastwards, in the depth of winter, across the high plateau to Lhasa.
Granted leave to stay, they soon made themselves useful. Aufschnaiter was commissioned to design a sewer system for Lhasa and Harrer surveyed the entire city. Although a fervent admirer of Tibetan culture, Harrer's recollections were unsentimental.
A fluent speaker of Tibetan, he had many friends in Lhasa and observed from within.
Dalai Lama says Harrer was a loyal friend
The members successfully reached the summit at four o'clock in the afternoon 24 July After their ascent of the Eiger North Face the four climbers were received by and photographed with Adolf Hitler. Harrer later said he wore his SS uniform only once, the day of his marriage to Charlotte Wegener, daughter of the eminent explorer and scholar Alfred Wegener.
Internment in India[ edit ] InHarrer joined a four-man expedition, led by Peter Aufschnaiterto the Diamir Face of the Nanga Parbat with the aim of finding an easier route to the peak.
Having concluded that the face was viable, the four mountaineers were in Karachi at the end of August, waiting for a freighter to take them home.
Dalai Lama says Harrer was a loyal friend - International Campaign for Tibet
The ship being long overdue, Harrer, Ludwig, and Hans Lobenhoffer tried to reach Persiabut several hundred kilometers northwest of Karachi they were put under the "protection" of British soldiers and escorted back to Karachi, where Aufschnaiter had stayed. Two days later, war was declared, and on 3 September all were put behind barbed wire to be transferred to a detention camp at Ahmednagar near Bombay.
They considered escaping to Portuguese Goabut when further transferred to Dehradun to be detained there for years with 1, other enemy aliensthey found Tibet more promising, the final goal being the Japanese front in Burma or China. Aufschnaiter and Harrer escaped and were re-captured a number of times before finally succeeding. Magener and von Have took the train to Calcutta and from there found their way to the Japanese army in Burma.
Harrer and Kopp, Aufschnaiter and Treipel. On 17 June, Treipel, exhausted, bought himself a horse and rode back to the lowlands.
After the fact, he said that he felt that in a certain sense purified by his experience in Tibet and his more than flirtation with Tibetan Buddhism. But I would have to say, you know, I actually went to his village, Hutenburg phand interviewed him, and I wouldn't say that he impressed me as being a person of the soft path, a sort of Buddhist gentleness.
There was a kind of a tough, cranky edge to him--again, this idea that he was a self-made man whose will had triumphed in effect, and indeed it had. Did Heinrich Harrer stay in touch with the Dalai Lama later in life?
And in fact, in his house in Hutenburg up on top of the mountain near where he grew up, there are all sorts of Tibetan prayer flags flying. In his distinctive way, the Dalai Lama never repudiated him even after his Nazi past became evident, which it did.
Obituary: Heinrich Harrer | News | The Guardian
As the film that Jean-Jacques Annaud made about "Seven Years in Tibet" with Brad Pitt came out, the Dalai Lama treated him always as a friend and never did disesteem him or repudiate him. Are there are any Heinrich Harrers today, and where can a Heinrich Harrer of today go to have that kind of authentic experience you were talking about? You know, I think the world has shrunk and every corner has been--had a microscope put on it.
And I think we really miss that idea that in the world there are places we can't get to. And that's what Heinrich Harrer will be remembered as, the last Westerner who could go to a place where no one else could go, that could have a really genuine, authentic adventure, not the sort of potted, touristic adventures that we have these days.
Orville Schell is the dean of the journalism school at UC Berkeley. He's written about Heinrich Harrer, most recently in "Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood.