SOLF, Wilhelm Heinrich. Berlin 5.10.1862 — Berlin 6.2.1936. German Indologist and Diplomat. Born in a wealthy family, son of Hermann S. and Augusta Peters, the cousin of Wackernagel. Educated in Anklam and Mannheim. From 1881 studies of Indology and philology at Berlin (Weber), Kiel (Pischel) and Göttingen (Kielhorn, Bechtel). Ph.D. 1886 Halle (under Pischel). In 1888 entered Foreign Service, from 1889 in Calcutta Consulate. Dr.iuris 1896 Jena. From 1898 in Colonial Service, worked in Dar es Salaam and Samoa (1900-11 as Governor). In 1911-19 Staatssekretär in Reichskolonialamt. In WW I he took moderate line and in fall 1918 he was the last Foreign Minister of German Empire and negotiated the armistice. In 1921-28 German Ambassador in Tokyo (where he was succeeded by another scholar, Voretzsch). In retirement he criticized Nazis and vainly tried to promote moderate politics. Married 1908 Johanna (Hanna) Dotti, one daughter and three sons.
Publications: Die Kaçmīr-Recension der Pañcāçikā. 26+34 p. Halle 1886 (Bilhana’s Caurīsurap., introd., ed., tr. and comm.).
– Transl.: F. Kielhorn: Grammatik der Sanskritsprache. Aus dem Engl. übers. von W. Solf. 244 p. B. 1888.
– Wrote on colonial, etc. politics.
Sources: Life in diss. p. 35; D.G.K. 1931 & 1935; R. Erbar, N.D.B. 24, 2010, 549f.; *E. von Vietsch, W.S., Botschafter zwischen Zeiten. Tübingen 1961; Wikipedia with photo (in German version very long article with further references and several photos); different photo in Rau 79 (from Vietzsch).