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German anthropological expedition to Tibet

Film | Accession Number: 2003.478.1 | RG Number: RG-60.3434 | Film ID: 2637A, 2637B

"Ein Filmdokument der Schaefer-Expedition, 1938/39." Sound track added in 1942, with racial content stressed.
Terrain/map. "Tibet / Indien" Dr. Karl Wienert, hand measurements. 00:04:52 to 00:05:01Measuring woman's head. Dr. Bruno Beger, "Die menschen Rasse des Forschungs..." Cameraman. Terrain, model, map, Ganges. 00:06:21 Scenes, streets, Calcutta (very good). Train to the base of the Himalayas.00:07:23 Intro the wonders and dangers of flora, fauna. Mules, men on the move. Bridge over river. Dangers of the wild river monsoons, whitewater. Mules over narrow wooden bridge across, fixing bridge, carrying heavy loads, on path, animals, mules, trees, snow. 00:13:36 Prayer wheels, throne of the gods, men carrying equipment up rocks. (See small swastika flag at 00:14:55) Tibetan monks, ceremony with head dress, cymbals, dance, masks. To 00:19:03. Mountain peaks, climbers. Beasts of burden, scavenger birds. 00:22:00 building an observation blind of stones. Vultures, etc. 00:24:56 Scientist with instruments. Making notes of observations in notebook. Dr. Karl Wiener, measuring instruments. Narration refers to "our racial research." 00:25:52 CU Tibetan woman laughing as he uses instruments on her face, head, nose; old man, children watch, also laughing at the endeavor. Measuring, feet, eye, taking blood. 00:27:05 Group of "natives" viewed closeup. German anthropologist Bruno Beger makes masks of native faces; applying wet materials all over face 28:35 The mask is removed.. "So entstand Stueck um Stueck unser Rassen... Sammlung von dem Menschentyp Hochasien." CUs masks and people. 00:29:04 Games (no natural sound). Near tents. "Nomads" Ragged children, bare feet. Woman using churn; milk product tasted by Germans, kids, passing churn around. 30:55 Nursing baby, CU, mother. Smoking, small child. 31:55 Reflections in water, snow-capped mountains. Mules. Tibet, over the Himalayas. Goats. Tents in snow, boots, men. Icy lake. Lhasa terrain, map. British bodies. SS on helmet. Playing in snow. Mules, wild horses, struggling in mud, wildlife scenes. Nomads, sheep, habitation, prayer wheels, Buddhism, eating, mixing tea, butter. Post arrives, messenger. Tower on mountainside, tiered buildings, Tibetans, priest, old man, vultures. Statues of gods, villages, all called to ritual, monk, activities. WS, Gr. Lhasa, soldiers with rifles. Dalai Lama's little army, train with guns, band of men with trumpets, kettle drum, military parade. Grazing goats, shepherd, woman spinning wool, weaving. Lake in mountains, thin air (can't breathe), degrading narration throughout re: natives fear of demons. More nature, plowing, long-legged birds. Guards, gateway. Lhasa, WSs. Lots of people, throngs. Officials greeting, Germans in suits, compliments. Narration is demeaning again, in quoting the required questions about children. The feast, zoological work, heads of ox, birds, etc. Preparation, CUs, exotic animals, stuffing a bird, baby fox. Long line of bearers with official gifts, meal, tea, baths, Lama wishes them well. Dog sniffing stuffed pig. Double-armed protectors provided by goat, so they'll be safe. Making stone wall. In street, market, people in stall, life in front of houses, poor, no luxuries. Artisan work, lice picking, shoes, knitting, nursing, laughing. CUs, religious images, prayer flag, ritual fire with Lhasa in BG. Procession of laymen. Care of bodies, tents, outside instruments, musicians, Germans have feast, sitar, chopsticks, dance, ragged children clapping, rodeo tricks. Ritual, in costume, death's head. Priests, driving out the devils, white prayer shawls, Orthodox priests, on horseback, fancy robes, Lhasa in BG, armor, horses.

Please note: Bruno Beger was involved in the "Ahnenerbe" -- the SS office for ancestral heritage, and later worked with Dr. August Hirt in building a skeleton collection from inmates at Auschwitz. See Robert Jay Lifton: The Nazi Doctors, pp 284-287

Film Title
Geheimnis Tibet
Event:  1938-1939
Production:  1942
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Bundesarchiv
Record last modified: 2020-08-04 09:21:14
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