The Migration of the Nordic Idea
Sven Hedin and German Scholars: The Cases of Wilhelm A. Unkrig and Ferdinand Lessing Hartmut Walravens Introduction Sven Hedin harboured a deep affection for Germany, even during the darkest times of its history. He studied with the geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen (1833–1905) in Berlin, and he worked and corresponded with many German schol- ars, scientists, administrators, and explorers. It is, however, premature to venture serious statements on his relationships with German colleagues. The field is vast, and an examination of his correspondence files in the Swedish Riksarkivet in Stockholm as well as an analysis of his expeditions and all of his publications would be necessary – as would, of course, an investigation of materials regarding his German collaborators and friends. For the time being, it seems advisable to limit the discussion to a few case studies. In two cases the correspondence with Hedin has been published and we have statements and material regarding cooperation on common projects. Whether the results of this survey may be generalised, is a differ- ent question; sweeping statements usually have little substance and value. The pre- sent case studies relate not to scientific exploration but to Mongolian and Tibetan texts and the religious culture of Central Asia. At first short biographies of the two scholars are given, then their relationship with Sven Hedin is surveyed on the basis of their correspondence and other sources, and a summary is then attempted. Wilhelm A. Unkrig (1883–1956) Wilhelm Alexander Unkrig was born at Köslin, Pomerania, the...
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