Virtual Exhibitions 2013, no. 2

The Wegener Diaries: Scientific Expeditions into the Eternal Ice

by Christian Kehrt

This virtual exhibition sheds light on Alfred Wegener's expeditions to Greenland between 1906 and 1931. Its main focus is on the diaries Wegener wrote during his explorations, which offer unique insights into the manifold challenges man and material faced in Greenland's extreme environments. You may choose to read the diaries in their original state, or browse the expeditions individually and read transcribed and translated excerpts by clicking on the tabs below.

Source: Alfred Wegener, Tagebücher, June 1906 – August 1908. DMA NL 001/005.

[113] Nun ist aber meine Arbeit, wenigstens in der Hauptsache zu Ende, und damit kommt wieder dieser unangenehme Zustand, wo man zu nichts Lust hat, weil einem alles gleich wichtig oder unwichtig erscheint. Wie viel besser hat es doch Koch mit seiner Arbeit! – Heute ist der Geburtstag von Peter Hansen, wir schlemmen den ganzen Tag. Mittags gibt es zum ersten Mal Moschusochsenfleisch. Mylius E. hat eine große Zahl geschossen. Soweit wären alle Erwartungen erfüllt, nur Rentiere haben wir noch nicht getroffen. Hase, Hühner, Ente, Füchse, Falken (sehr viele!), Strandjäger, Raben, Schneeeulen (selten), Seehunde, Walrosse, Moschusoxen, Eisbären – was kann man noch mehr verlangen? Wir essen jetzt jeden Tag frisches Fleisch, was auf mein körperliches Wohlbefinden eine sehr

[113] Now my work is done, at least for the most part, which brings on once again this unpleasant frame of mind in which one becomes completely apathetic because everything seems to be equally important or unimportant. Koch is much better off with his work! – Today is Peter Hansen’s birthday. We are feasting all day. At lunchtime we will have musk-ox meat for the first time. Mylius E. has shot many of them. All expectations have thus been fulfilled, with reindeer being the only animal which we haven’t bagged yet. Rabbits, chickens, ducks, foxes, falcons (many!), skuas, ravens, snow owls (seldom), seals, walruses, musk-oxen, polar bears—what more can one wish for? We eat fresh meat every day, which has a wonderful effect on my

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Scanned diary: Used by permission of the Archives of the Deutsches Museum
Diary translation: Creative Commons License 2013 Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society