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socialclimber


Jan 7, 2006, 12:55 PM
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Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer dies.
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VIENNA (Reuters)
7 January 2006

The Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, whose life was portrayed in his book and the film "Seven Years in Tibet", has died, aged 93.

He was the first person to climb the north face of Switzerland's Eiger mountain in 1938, but won world renown after his book was made into a film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Brad Pitt.

Harrer was taken prisoner by British forces in 1944 during an expedition in the Himalayas but escaped and fled over the mountain range to Tibet.

He struck up a close friendship with the Dalai Lama when staying at the Tibetan capital of Lhasa from 1946 to 1951, before China annexed the country.

Following media reports, Harrer admitted in the 1990s he had been a member of the Nazi party.

Harrer was admitted to hospital two days ago in Friesach in southern Austria. There were no details of the cause of death.

http://today.reuters.com/news


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Jan 7, 2006, 2:30 PM
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Re: Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer dies. [In reply to]
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wow....i think i'll go and start to read 7 years in tibet again


napoleon_in_rags


Jan 7, 2006, 2:43 PM
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In reply to:
VIENNA (Reuters)
7 January 2006

The Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, whose life was portrayed in his book and the film "Seven Years in Tibet", has died, aged 93.

He was the first person to climb the north face of Switzerland's Eiger mountain in 1938, but won world renown after his book was made into a film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Brad Pitt.

Harrer was taken prisoner by British forces in 1944 during an expedition in the Himalayas but escaped and fled over the mountain range to Tibet.

He struck up a close friendship with the Dalai Lama when staying at the Tibetan capital of Lhasa from 1946 to 1951, before China annexed the country.

Following media reports, Harrer admitted in the 1990s he had been a member of the Nazi party.

Harrer was admitted to hospital two days ago in Friesach in southern Austria. There were no details of the cause of death.

http://today.reuters.com/news

I think this article has its dates wrong, though. I think he escaped in 1944 and was captured in 40?? I haven't read 7 years in a while but I just started the White Spider.


overlord


Jan 8, 2006, 4:42 AM
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i really loved the movie, though i didnt read the book.


leapinlizard


Jan 9, 2006, 10:09 AM
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Tis a sad day, but such is life. I too have seen the movie, but have not read the book, even though I own it. I have always been impressed with the Dalai Lama's effect on people. I am sure he is very saddened as I have heard that even to this day they were still good friends.


virginia_alpinist


Jan 9, 2006, 7:47 PM
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Sad...I lived in view of the Eiger in the late 80's. Climbing it was an amazing feat (and still is!). There is always controversy around such a feat as his...never the less it was incredible!


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Jan 11, 2006, 6:51 AM
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I think a lot of people have been romanced by the film; just because you spent time with the Dali Lama doesn't mean you're suddenly redeemed. Hello, NAZI. :evil: You had to SIGN UP to be a Nazi when he did.


nonick


Jan 11, 2006, 7:16 AM
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Harrer was an accomplished mountaineer and a true explorer.

Its really sad that he like many other Germans of his time got caught up with the Nazis. I personally dont think he was really involved deeply in Nazism, and it unfortunately deprieved him of the greatness he truly deserves.


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Jan 11, 2006, 7:28 AM
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In reply to:
Harrer was an accomplished mountaineer and a true explorer.

Its really sad that he like many other Germans of his time got caught up with the Nazis. I personally dont think he was really involved deeply in Nazism, and it unfortunately deprieved him of the greatness he truly deserves.

Unfortunatly he was at least a racist. In his commentaries about the Daleih Lama (sp?) he admires his 'light skin' and stuff while he belittles the rest of the Tibethians as numb looking etc. Just one example, and maybe not even outstanding for that time (not even for today).

I don't think he was a die hard nazi, but he sure was somewhat a follower and profiteer. And he sympathized with some of the 'Herrenmenschen' bullshit too.

This doesn't touch his accomplishment as a mountaineer though.

- Daniel


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Jan 11, 2006, 7:34 AM
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Re: Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer dies. [In reply to]
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I agree with Daniel, but also see:

http://www.geocities.com/...te/6173/harrnazi.htm

or

http://www.jewishsf.com/...ml/displaystory.html

... If you put it through google I don't think you can deny he was a 'good' nazi...

Praise where due is one thing, but forgetting the past in favor of exhultation of heros is another.... even Mussolini made the trains run on time in Italy, right? (actually not true - he was just a propaganda genius).


frigginfreddy


Jan 11, 2006, 7:42 AM
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Here- draw your own conclusions.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Harrer


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Jan 11, 2006, 7:45 AM
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... sorry, that last link was a bit weak...

In reply to:
After the film was completed, Harrer's Nazi past was revealed and few
voice-overs in the film were changed to suggest that Harrer joined the
Nazi party reluctantly to further his career, and that his sojourn in
Tibet made him realize that Nazism is bad. Actually, Harrer joined the
SA in 1933, and the SS in 1938. Harrer is no Schindler, but instead
someone who joined a voluntary elite Nazi organization and held a rank
the equivalent of sergeant. Harrer's memoir makes no mention of his
Nazi past.(1)

(from http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/movies/review.php?f=long/sevenyears.txt)

There is also a quote from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/07/entertainment/main1185582.shtml:

In reply to:
His ascent earned him fame and a handshake from Adolf Hitler: Harrer had joined the Nazi party when Germany took control of Austria in 1938. He also joined the SS, the party's police wing associated with atrocities during World War II.

Harrer later said he joined the SS and Nazi party in order to enter a teachers' organization. The membership let him join a government-financed Himalayan expedition, his life's dream.

Not an excuse in my book.


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Jan 11, 2006, 7:47 AM
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(double post)

OH - and I meant the link in my last post was weak...


frigginfreddy


Jan 11, 2006, 7:50 AM
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mine was pretty weak to- just seamed a little more unbiased....


paolo75


Jan 11, 2006, 7:50 AM
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In reply to:
Harrer was an accomplished mountaineer and a true explorer.

Its really sad that he like many other Germans of his time got caught up with the Nazis. I personally dont think he was really involved deeply in Nazism, and it unfortunately deprieved him of the greatness he truly deserves.

he was one of the co-founder of national-socialist party...he also founded the secret radical-right society called "Thule" which pursued the idea of splitting the world into power classes. So...he was not really caught into the Nazi party, but he was working for founding it...

He resign the Nazi party after Hitler joined, in 1919, without really leaving it.
The expedition showed on the book and the movie was payed by the Nazi party which was interested on founding the origin of the Aryan race...


mellpat


Jan 14, 2006, 7:16 AM
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Much crap in this thread. You have to read his memoir "Mein Leben" (only in German) to get an understanding of the man. Great book from 2002 and has at least seven editions (Ullstein Verlag) in Germany.

http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/3548364985/303-6454584-6815411


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Jan 14, 2006, 7:37 AM
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In reply to:
Much crap in this thread. You have to read his memoir "Mein Leben" (only in German) to get an understanding of the man. Great book from 2002 and has at least seven editions (Ullstein Verlag) in Germany.

I admit that I don't know that much about Harrer. But I doubt, that an autobiography serves as a legit source of information - especially if the topic in question is as delicate as the role of the author in the 3rd Reich.

If you got other sources than that to enlighten us, feel free to post up.

- Daniel


mellpat


Jan 14, 2006, 8:39 AM
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Daniel, I simply don't know any better source for the subject.

(from "Mein Leben")
"Es ist schrecklich, sich von einer Generation verantworten zu müssen, die nicht mit uns gelebt hat". Das sagte ein Volkstribun vor zweitausend Jahren, aber auch Goethe beklagte sich: "Der Alte verliert eines der größten Menschenrechte: Er wird nicht mehr von seinesgleichen beurteilt".

Daniel, perhaps you can help with the translation?

- Ingemar


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Jan 14, 2006, 11:36 AM
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In reply to:
Daniel, I simply don't know any better source for the subject.

Still you said the thread (which consistes more or less of information of different sources) had "much crap" in it.
Personally I found it pretty interesting. I think nobody here is on a judgemental trip or such. Just questioning Hollywood heroism as well as the old Nazi-fingerpointing.

In reply to:
(from "Mein Leben")
"Es ist schrecklich, sich von einer Generation verantworten zu müssen, die nicht mit uns gelebt hat". Das sagte ein Volkstribun vor zweitausend Jahren, aber auch Goethe beklagte sich: "Der Alte verliert eines der größten Menschenrechte: Er wird nicht mehr von seinesgleichen beurteilt".

Daniel, perhaps you can help with the translation?

- Ingemar

Hard to translate, indeed. I'll try though...

In reply to:
"It's dreadful to be answerable to a generation which didn't live with us." This said an tribun two thousand years ago, but so bewailed Goethe: "The elder loses one of the greatest human rights: he will not be judged by his own kind any more".

I think it's a different thing to judge someone in person. But this is not a court. What we are able and allowed to do is to question motifs, actions and truthfullness. Harrer AFAIK never cleared his past in a satisfying way. The quote above is no excuse for that.

- Daniel


mellpat


Jan 14, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Daniel, you say that Harrer as far as you know never cleared his past in a satisfying way. Well, his autobiography from 2002 is there to read (570 pages).

He mentions i.a. that he became a member of NSDAP in 1938, the same year as most of the world considered Hitler a reasonable leader (Munich agreement). Harrer was never a member of SA. He went through "denazification" in Austria 1952. The attending British officers were amused and teased him by showing newspapers falsely depicting him as a commander for Tibetanian forces fighting the Chinese.


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Jan 14, 2006, 1:33 PM
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In reply to:
Daniel, you say that Harrer as far as you know never cleared his past in a satisfying way. Well, his autobiography from 2002 is there to read (570 pages).

He mentions i.a. that he became a member of NSDAP in 1938, the same year as most of the world considered Hitler a reasonable leader (Munich agreement). Harrer was never a member of SA. He went through "denazification" in Austria 1952. The attending British officers were amused and teased him by showing newspapers falsely depicting him as a commander for Tibetanian forces fighting the Chinese.

Maybe as a German I might be a little more doubtful when it comes to the "I was just... and never...." thing. Too many people suddenly were soooo innocent after the War that it seems as if it never could have happend.

This is not to accuse Harrer of anything particular, since - as I said - I know about nothing of him. Will read the book as soon as I can get a hand on it though.

Undoubtly he was SS Offizier, received lots of support of the Nazis, never was part of any kind of resistance and sympathised with the idea of Arian superiority. In my eyes enough to watch him not as the glorious Brat Pit - style type, he was displayed in the media at first.

- Daniel


mellpat


Jan 14, 2006, 4:12 PM
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Daniel, in effect you are saying he had a minor position (sergeant) in a German paramilitary force at home, got some support from the government, wasn't a traitor to his country, and like the British that put him in a KZ in India for years possibly was sympathetic to white arian superiority over India. Big deal. RIP

"Heinrich Harrer, der letzte Abenteurer von wissenschaftlichem Rang" ( Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)


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Jan 15, 2006, 5:30 AM
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In reply to:
Daniel, in effect you are saying he had a minor position (sergeant) in a German paramilitary force at home, got some support from the government, wasn't a traitor to his country, and like the British that put him in a KZ in India for years possibly was sympathetic to white arian superiority over India. Big deal. RIP

T 0 with an extra malus for tastelessness.

- Daniel


mellpat


Jan 15, 2006, 7:39 AM
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The death of Heinrich Harrer was not a proper occasion to bring up his ancient membership in NSDAP and SS, so what you call tastelessness was fully intended on my part.


napoleon_in_rags


Jan 15, 2006, 8:57 AM
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Hypothetical Situation:
What if Harrer was an American Climber who, during WWII, was an bombadier who participated in the Dresden or Kyoto Firebombings that killed more people than the Enola Gay at Hiroshima? Would we have this controversy or would it be shrugged off as a man doing his duty to country?

The true horror of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and other cults of personality is that they could get average everyday people to do unspeakable things.

Some of the articles sited above accuse Harrer of sicking Guard Dogs on innocent Jewish Girls. Is there any evidence that Harrer participated in any brutality? I mean, I am a registered republican but I don't believe I should be blamed for the crimes of Cheney, I am a Christian but I shouldn't be automatically associated with fundamentalists like Robertson.

On a side note, I am reading the biogarphy of Hans Kraus, another great Austrian climber, who escaped to America before the war.

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