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.

[117] Kamiker angezogen, das scheint zu helfen. Ich beneide Koch um seine Wirksamkeit. Einmal ist die Aufgabe selbst eine äußerliche, so dass man sieht, was man baut, und dann sind die Kartographien (allerdings mit Recht) als die Hauptaufgabe der Expedition anzusehen, und er arbeitet infolgedessen mit allen Mitteln der Expedition, ihm stellen sich die besten Kräfte freiwillig zur Verfügung. Er ist aber auch wunderbar für diesen Zweck veranlagt. Selbst eine Bärennatur mit einem eisernen Körper, und dann diese unvergleichliche Energie, die ich wirklich bewundere. Seine ganze Arbeit ist stets durchdacht; wo es seine Arbeiten durchzuführen gilt, kann er rücksichtslos sein, aber auch das bewundere ich. Ich glaube, ich kann

[117] kamik boots because of this, which seems to help. I am envious of Koch and his effectiveness. Firstly, the task itself is a physical one, in that one can see what one has built, and then there are the cartographies, which are to be considered (and rightly so) the principal task of the expedition. As a consequence of this, he works with all the available resources of the expedition, and the best men volunteer their services to him. He is, however, wonderfully suited to this task. He is a bear of a man with a body of steel, and then there is that unparalleled energy which I truly admire. All his work is always carefully thought through; when it comes to carrying out his tasks, he can be ruthless, but this I also admire. I believe I can

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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