HEINE-GELDERN, Robert, Freiherr von

HEINE-GELDERN, Robert, Freiherr von. Grub, Niederösterreich 16.7.1885 — Vienna 25.5.1968. Austrian Anthropologist. Professor in Vienna. Born in a rich Jewish family. Studied at Munich and then under W. Schmidt at Vienna. In 1910 travelled in India and Burma. Ph.D. 1914 Wien. The WW I, in which he participated as a dragoon lieutenant, ruined the property. Then employed in Natur­historisches Museum in Vienna. From 1925 Docent of Ethnology of South and South-East Asia, from 1931 ao. Professor at Vienna University. In 1938 fled for the Nazis and settled down in New York. In 1938-41 Lecturer at Columbia University, in 1943-49 Professor at Asia Institute. In 1949 returned to Vienna, first as Visiting Professor, in 1950-56 as ao. Professor with a new, more extensive responsibility. From 1954 member of Austrian Academy. Retired in 1956. The title of nobility as Freiherr von H.-G. was conveyed to the family by Franz Josef in 1870.

H.-G. was one of the great ethnologists of the Vienna school, and the only one, who was born in Austria. He wrote his main works and founded his fame in 1917-37. He was a specialist of South-East Asian prehistory and later, himself as emigrant, interested in movements of peoples (including Aryans). He knew little of American Anthropology and could not well accommodate in it. Thus he was rather lone in New York. His ideas about cultural substrates in China found no support. He was not capable of participating in academic intrigues, which hampered his career.

Publications: “Kopfjagd und Menschenopfer in Assam und Birma und ihre Ausstrahlungen nach Vorderindien”, Mitt. der Anthropol. Ges. in Wien 47 (3:17), 1917, 65 p. (diss.?); “Orissa und die Mundavölker im ‘Periplus des Erythräischen Meers’”, H. Mzik (ed.), Beiträge zur historische Geographie. Lp. & Wien 1929, 157-171.

– “Archaeological traces of the Vedic Aryans”, JISOA 4, 1936, 87-113; “New light on the Aryan migration to India”, Bull. Am. Inst. of Iranian Art and Arch. 5, 1937, 7-16.

– “Das Tocharerproblem und die Pontische Wanderung”, Saeculum 2, 1951.

– “Das Dravidaproblem”, AnzÖstAW 101, 1964, 187-201.

Many further, often important publications on South-East Asia; Gesammelte Schriften. 1-13. Vienna 1976-99.

Sources: Bihl 170f.; K. Jettmar, Paideuma 15, 1969, 8-11; Wikipedia (more details in German version). Different genealogical databases give different names for his parents: Robert or Maximilian, Käthe or Maria.

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