FILCHNER, Wilhelm. München (or Bayreuth?) 13.9.1877 — Zürich 7.5.1957. German Geodesist and Explorer. Son of Eduard F. (Lazarettverwaltungsinspektor in Bayreuth, 1836-1882) and Rosine von Leistner (1855-1908), Catholic. Lost early his father and lived in München with his mother and oncle. After school entered military career. As a second lieutenant he rode on a furlough through Pamir in 1900. The journey attracted attention, and he obtained support for further plans of exploration. In 1902 he married with Ilse Ostermaier (1880-1959), divorced 1909, one son.

In order to be better equipped for exploration WF now studied geodesy and geography in Munich and practical cartography, meteorology, etc. in Berlin and Potsdam. In further expeditions he explored in 1903-05 South-East Tibet and China, in 1910 the Spitzbergen and in 1911-12 Antarctis. The war prevented his planned participation in Amundsen’s Arctic expedition. In the war he served as officer in the West Front and in Norway. After the war in 1926-28 he was again in China and Tibet, in 1935-37 in Tibet and in 1939 in Nepal. He was interned in India and returned only in 1949 to Europe, where he settled in Zürich for his last years. Hon. Ph.D. 1911 Königsberg, 1938 München, Professor 1938 Berlin.

Publications: Ein Ritt über den Pamir. 251 p. Berlin 1903; Sad Klöster Kumbum in Tibet. 164 p. ill. Berlin 1906; Quer durch Ost-Tibet. 10+195 p. B. 1925; Om mani padme hum. Meine China- und Tibetexpedition 1925/28. B. 1928, 2nd ed. 352 p. 103 ill. Lp. 1929.

Kumbum Dschamba Ling. Das Kloster der hunderttausend Bilder Maitreyas. Ein Ausschnitt aus Leben und Lehre des heutigen Lamaismus. Nach Beobachtungen während seiner Tibetexpedition 1926/28. Leipzig 1933.

Bismillah! – Vom Huang-ho zum Indus. Leipzig 1938.

autobiography: Ein Forscherleben. 1950, 2nd ed. 1956.

In der Fieberhölle Nepals. Wiesbaden 1951; with D. Sridhar Marathe, Hindustan im Festgewand. Celle 1953.

other books not relevant here.

Sources: G. Kirschmer, N.D.B. 5, 1961, 145f.; Wikipedia with photo (more details in German version).


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