Hermann Detzner

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Hermann Philipp Detzner
Hermann Detzner.jpg
Major a. D. Dr. phil. h. c. Hermann Philipp Detzner, portrayed on the jacket of the 1921 edition of his book
Four Years Among the Cannibals.
Birth date 16 October 1882
Place of birth Speyer, Bavarian Palatinate, German Empire
Death date 1 December 1970 (aged 88)
Place of death Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch Fahne der Bayerischen Armee.png Royal Bavarian Army
Reichskolonialflagge.png Schutztruppe (Kamerun and German New Guinea)
War Ensign of Germany (1921–1933).png Reichswehr
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1901–1920
Rank Hauptmann (German Army)
Major (Vorläufige Reichswehr)
Oberst z. V. (Wehrmacht)
Battles/wars World War I: Australian Occupation of German New Guinea
Awards Iron Cross (1st Class), 1919
Honorary degree, University of Köln (1921)
Other work Engineer, topographer, explorer, government official, writer

Hermann Philipp Detzner (b. 16 October 1882 in Speyer, Palatinate; d. 1 December 1970 in Heidelberg) was an German officer of the Bavarian Army and in the German colonial security force (Schutztruppe) of the Imperial German Army in Kamerun and German New Guinea, as well as a surveyor, an engineer, an adventurer, and a writer.

In early 1914, the German government sent Detzner to explore and chart the interior of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, the imperial protectorate on the island of New Guinea. When World War I broke out in Europe, he was well into the interior and without radio contact. He refused to surrender to Australian troops when they occupied German New Guinea, concealing himself in the jungle with a band of approximately 20 soldiers. For four years, Detzner and his troops provocatively marched through the bush, singing "Watch on the Rhine" and flying the German Imperial flag. He led at least one expedition from the Huon Peninsula to the north coast, and a second by a mountain route, to attempt an escape to the neutral Dutch colony to the west. He explored areas of the Guinean interior formerly unseen by Europeans and surrendered in full dress uniform, flying the Imperial flag, to Australian forces in January 1919.

Detzner received a hero's welcome when he returned to Germany. He wrote a book about his adventures—Four Years Among the Cannibals in the Interior of German New Guinea under the Imperial Flag, from 1914 until the Armistice—that achieved notoriety in Great Britain and Germany, entered three printings, and was translated into French, English, Finnish and Swedish. He received a position in the Imperial Colonial Archives, and appeared frequently on the lecture circuit throughout the 1920s. In the late 1920s, scientific portions of his book were discredited. In 1932, he admitted that he had mixed fact and fiction and, after that time, eschewed public life.


Simple outline map of the island with territorial divisions. See caption.
New Guinea in 1884–1919. The Netherlands controlled the western half of New Guinea and the territory remained neutral during World War I. Germany controlled the north-eastern part, which was invaded by the Australians at the outbreak of the war. Britain controlled the south-eastern part. The boundary between Papua (British protectorate) and Kaiser-Wilhelmsland (German protectorate) was in question: see the territory marked in blue.


A small single story building, with grass roof and veranda, next to bushes
German Barracks at Herbertshöhe (Kokopo) on New Pomerania, circa 1912. The small German colony in Herbertshöhe had capitulated to the Australian troops by mid-September 1914.
Relief map of New Guinea showing mountains, and locations of various settlements: the area of Kaiser–Wilhelmsland is approximately a quarter of the entire island.
Hermann Detzner's journey was focused largely on the Huon Peninsula, but in his 1914 exploration, he traveled as far as the Western Highlands to survey the border (marked).
Postcard of various aspects of native images, men in grass skirts, people carrying things, flora and fauna, animals, and fruits
This pre-war German postcard from New Guinea depicts the exotic locale of the German protectorate. Widely distributed cards such as this, whether sold as post cards or in cigarette packages, often intensified interest in the colonial enterprise by offering an exciting and evocative visual image.
Oberstleutnant z. V. Detzner
Oberst z. V. a. D. Detzner on his 80th birthday, 16 October 1962

Detzner was the son of a dentist in the city of Speyer, in the Bavarian Palatinate, a cultural, economic, and historical center on the Rhine River. His father, Johann Philipp Detzner (12 July 1846 – 1907), received his degree from Heidelberg University and was licensed to practice by the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1867; Detzner's father pioneered innovations in dental prosthetics.[1]

Hermann Detzner entered the Bavarian Army only 11 days after his Abitur at the Gymnasium on 14 July 1901 (2. Kompanie des Königlichen Bayerischen 2. Pionier-Bataillon of the Bavarian Army in Speyer) and was trained as a topographer, surveyor, and an engineer, and received his promotion to Fähnrich (Officer Cadet) on 31 January 1902.[2]

Early explorations

Hermann Detzner participated in a joint British-German scientific and surveying expedition to Kamerun in 1908 and 1909[3] and again in 1912–1913.[4] He and one Captain Nugent, Royal Artillery, identified and marked the frontiers of Kamerun and explored the Niger valley.[5] Detzner later published a paper on the marking of the boundary.[6]

Navigators charted the coastline of the northern and eastern portions of New Guinea in the early 17th century and, later in the century, British Admiralty navigators named the visible mountain ranges. Most German surveying efforts had focused on coastal regions and river basins, where Germans had established plantations, leaving the interior unexplored. In late 1913, the Imperial Colonial office appointed Detzner to lead an expedition to survey the border between the British protectorate, called Papua, and the German territory, called Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, and to survey and map the interior.

Detzner's mission was also to be the first serious attempt to explore the unknown interior and to evaluate and describe its contents. The boundary between Papua and Kaiser Wilhelmsland had been broadly established by a joint British-German expedition in 1909, but the interior had not been mapped and the German colonial administration maintained that the boundary was imprecise. Since then, Papuan gold prospectors may have crossed into the German territory which, from the German perspective, made the accuracy of the border essential.[7] Detzner had had experience in joint operations in Kamerun in 1907–08 and could be expected to understand the challenges faced by the previous commission; he had a reputation as a methodical and precise engineer. Although small, he was tough and wiry, extremely focused and determined, and seemed like the right man for the job.[8]

Adventures in New Guinea

In January 1914, Detzner travelled to Rabaul on New Pomerania (now New Britain). In February, he began his expedition into Kaiser-Wilhelmsland. His survey immediately revealed inaccuracies in the 1909 joint survey; by March, Detzner had concluded that the border corridor was already showing a discrepancy of more than 650 m from the 8°0'S parallel. The discrepancy increased the further west he traveled, revealing a widening wedge in the boundary as it was agreed upon, and as it was marked. The discrepancy favored German interests.[9]

He was well into the interior when, on 4 August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. As World War I spread to the Pacific, Australian troops invaded German New Guinea, taking the German barracks in Herbertshöhe (Kokopo) and forcing the defending German colonial troops to capitulate on 21 September after their defeat at Bita Paka. At the beginning of October, still unaware of the state of war that now existed between his country and the Commonwealth, Detzner hiked toward a temporary camp, expecting to find there his second in command, a non-commissioned officer named Konradt.[10] Instead he was met by a messenger sent by Konradt and handed a note that Konradt had found in the hand of a dead native; the note, written by the Australian commander, informed him of the state of war between Germany and Great Britain, and advised him to surrender.[11] Detzner was horrified to discover, he later wrote, that while he was safe at his base camp in the vicinity of Mount Chapman, in an idyllic setting filled with flowers, his fellow Germans were dying at Bita Paka.[12]

Four years in the unexplored interior of New Guinea

Detzner refused to go into captivity. He led his party, consisting of four other European officers, and about 200 well-armed natives—a formidable jungle force—south toward the Sattelberg on the Huon peninsula, narrowly escaping from Madang ahead of an Australian patrol.[13] His second in command, Sergeant Konradt, who suffered from frequent bouts of malaria, and another German officer, were captured by the Australians by spring 1915.[14] Eventually, Detzner found his way to the vicinity of Lutheran mission at the Sattelberg, at a foggy, cool area at 800 m, above Finschhafen. The Sattelberg mission was one of the Neuendettelsau Mission Society enterprises established by the Old Lutheran missionary, Johann Flierl, in 1885. This station, and additional mission stations in Heldbach, Simbang, Tami Islands, and Simbu, were an important evangelical presence in the Morobe Province. The missionaries had signed oaths of neutrality for the Australians, who allowed them to remain at their Stations and continue their work.[15]

Once Detzner reached the vicinity of the Sattelberg Mission, nearby villagers in the Borrum valley housed him and his remaining men, which had dwindled to about 20 soldiers, plus four European officers and, on his behalf, the villagers sought assistance from the Sattelberg director, Christian Keyser, and another missionary, Otto Thiele.[16] They reluctantly agreed to keep Detzner's presence a secret.[17] Among the villagers, Detzner established a base camp from which he could mount his expeditions. The valley was relatively secure for him, and inaccessible for the Australians, but if they ventured too close to his base, Detzner and his men would retreat into the mountainous Saruwaged, or, if necessary, further into the Finisterre mountains. These were rugged and remote locations, accessible to Detzner, who had the help of native guides, but which the Australians, who usually traveled in larger patrols, could not penetrate.[18]

For four years, Detzner and his band roamed throughout the eastern jungles of the island, eluded the Australian patrols, and maintained contact with the few remaining German colonists and missionaries, who supplied them with food, books, and newspapers.[19] Reportedly, he recruited the indigenous population to help him, but he apparently made little effort to hide: he flew the German flag (sewn from dyed loincloths) in villages throughout the bush, and marched his command through the jungle, loudly singing such patriotic German songs as "Watch on the Rhine" (Wacht am Rhein) and such popular, sentimental ones as "The Linden Tree" (Der Lindenbaum).[20]

Escape attempts

Detzner made three attempts to reach West New Guinea, which was then neutral Dutch New Guinea, and in doing so, became the first European to see the central highlands. In 1915, and again in 1917, Detzner and some of his men tried to escape along the coast in two canoes. In 1917, they reached the vicinity of Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen, which today is Madang. There lay anchored the Australian ship, HMAS Una, which earlier had been the German imperial yacht, the SMS Komet, designated for use by the German governor of the colony.[21] The ship blocked any further travel, and ended any notions they had of a water escape to Dutch Guinea. On this escape attempt, Detzner also learned the Australians had orders to shoot him on sight.[22] He made one further attempt to escape overland to Dutch New Guinea, but had to be carried back suffering from an internal hemorrhage.[23] He spent the remainder of the time investigating the island's inhabitants and its flora and fauna, particularly in the Huon peninsula and Huon gulf.[24]


In late November 1918, Detzner received the news of the end of the war from a worker at the Sattelberg Mission Station. He wrote a letter to the Australian commander in Morobe in which he offered his capitulation. On 5 January 1919, he surrendered at the Finschhafen District headquarters, marching with his remaining German troops in a column, and wearing his carefully preserved full-dress uniform. He was brought to Rabaul, the Australian headquarters,[25] and on 8 February 1919, was transferred to Sydney aboard the Melusia; after a brief internment in the prisoner of war camp at Holsworthy,[26] he was repatriated to Germany.[27]

Book and honours

On his arrival home, Detzner received a hero's welcome. The press likened him to the successful commander of German East Africa, Major General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who tied down British forces in Africa for the duration of the war.[28] Detzner had been promoted to the rank of captain during the war; upon his return, he was promoted to major.[29] In that year, he wrote Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, nach dem Stande der Forschung im Jahre 1919, (Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, According to the State of Research in the Year 1919),[30] which was widely read in scientific circles. The information that the Geographical Society of Berlin honored him with the Nachtigal medal, named after the German explorer Gustav Nachtigal, in 1919 is false; this misinformation may have been planted by Detzner himself. Nevertheless, the Geographic Society of Hamburg awarded him their gold medal in 1921; the University of Bonn granted him an honorary degree; and the military awarded him the Iron Cross (1st Class). He received a position in the colonial administration's archive in Berlin.[31]

To satisfy the public curiosity about his adventures, Detzner wrote Four Years among the Cannibals, from 1914 to the Armistice, under the German Flag, in the Unexplored Interior of New Guinea. The book brought him fame in Germany and Britain, and he became a sought-after speaker on the lecture circuit.[32] In the 1920s, in addition to several articles and two maps of New Guinea, Detzner published a memoir of his adventures in the Niger valley—In the land of the Dju-Dju: travel experiences in the eastern watershed of the Niger—in 1923, but it did not achieve the popularity of his previous work.[33]

Book reception

Detzner's book was wildly popular among the general population for its incredible tales of stubborn patriotism and its narratives describing the exotic locales of the lost imperial colonies. His descriptions touched a chord in the German imagination: one of their own had explored the colony, walked its paths, seen its mountains and valleys, and met its people. His vivid descriptions brought to life the images Germans had seen on postcards (such as the one to left), newspapers, and in school books. Furthermore, he had defended Germany's "place in the sun" when others had failed to do so.[34] His book was translated into English, Finnish, Swedish and eventually French. (See below.)

In a speech at the Berlin Geographical Society in 1919, Detzner claimed that the natives of New Guinea had opposed Australian domination and resisted a military recruitment that amounted to slavery, that even the English plantation holders wished to remain independent of Australia, and that the natives were collecting money to build a war memorial for the Germans.[35] The report on Detzner's speech, transmitted from a news agency in London, caused a small flutter in Australian government circles, but generally was dismissed; an earlier report by the Australian judiciary had absolved the Australian force of improper recruiting or treatment of the New Guineans.[36] An angry letter to the editor from another Australian source, who claimed to have been in service in Morobe from 1914–1915, received little attention.[37]

In the scientific world, several of his descriptive passages generated excitement and curiosity. In early 1914, he had been surveying a portion of the international boundary in the Upper Waria River between the German and British protectorates. By late September, he had passed into a different portion of the highlands, where the clay-slate mountains changed into limestone highlands. In this geologic transition, he said, he also found a change in the ethnographic character of the population, whom he described as a "new" people. They were stocky, powerfully built, and long–limbed; they wore their hair in knots on the centre of their heads, which were otherwise shaven, and painted yellow and black lines across their chests. They also wore grass skirts, so he called them the skirted ones. They used bows and arrows, slings and stone axes. As he pushed west to Mount Joseph, Detzner claimed, he had found the southern hills of the central watershed cut by numerous rivers flowing north to south. He had surmised that there were no insurmountable obstacles between him and the Sepik river.[38] In 1917, he had travelled through the Ramu valley into the Bismarck range, northwest of the Kratke Mountains, and had continued on that route for 100 km.[39] He also described the presence of an indigenous variation of German, called Unserdeutsch (our German), in several Guinean dialects.[40]


In 1919, after an account of Detzner's speech in Berlin to the Geographical Society was published in Australia, an angry Australian wrote anonymously to the editor of The Argus, a Melbourne newspaper, and described what he claimed were Detzner's lies. "There was no mystery about the disappearance of Captain Detzner and his party", he claimed.[41] The writer attributed Detzner's success at staying ahead of the Australians to the perfidy of the German missionaries, who had agreed to remain neutral and in return for such agreement were allowed to continue their mission work. Detzner was a civilian [emphasis in the original] surveyor, the writer claimed, not a soldier and he survived on mission station rations supplied by public subscription from the German plantation owners. Furthermore, this writer asserted, Detzner's movements were so well known to the district officer at Morobe that he was prevented from escaping; they could have shot him several times, but did not. The writer dismissed Detzner's claims about Australian recruitment of the natives as "in keeping with his dozens of other lying statements in all cases endeavoring to belittle Englishmen or British officers, in every case pure fabrications and typical scurrilous Hun lies".[42]

While such criticism of Detzner's adventures might have been dismissed as post-bellum bellicosity, in 1929, Detzner's assertions came under more serious assault. Two of the German missionaries in the Finschhafen District, Christian Keyser (also spelled Kayser or Keysser) and Otto Thiele, claimed Detzner had not spent the war roaming the jungle, one step ahead of the Australians, but had been under the Mission's protection the entire time. Keyser's additional accusations were particularly specific: Detzner had appropriated his own scientific observations. Keyser's claims carried some weight. He had published a dictionary of the Kâte language, and was a reliable expert on Guinean dialects, and the German-based creole languages that had arisen in New Guinea; he was also a bona fide explorer and adventurer, having lived from 1899 to 1920 among the mountain peoples of the island. In 1913, Keyser climbed the 4121 m Saruwaged Massif; over the course of his 21 years in New Guinea, he had identified hundreds of new plant and animal species, and had maintained a regular correspondence with the German Geographical Society in Berlin.

Ernst Mayr, a rising star in ornithology, had heard about Detzner from Australians on a research trip to New Guinea. In Germany, during a meeting with Keyser, they discussed Detzner's claims, and Mayr lost no time in broadcasting the discrepancy to his scientific contacts in Europe and the United States.[43]

More problematically, Detzner had no documentation of his findings. As he explained in his many speeches, although he had kept notebooks with drawings of plants, animals, maps, and people, and journals recounting his day–to–day experiences, some of his notebooks and journals had been destroyed by the Australians as they over–ran his hiding places; others, which he had buried to keep them from being destroyed, had rotted beyond repair in the jungle humidity.[44] He implied that what remained of his notes had been confiscated when he surrendered.[45] Detzner's narrative also was rife with contradictions and omissions: Detzner named few villages or streams and stated that the valleys he discovered were thinly populated, whereas they actually contained large populations, at least by New Guinea standards. He also stated that the highest point in the range was 3600 m, a 1200 m miscalculation, which, for a mapmaker and a surveyor, needed to be explained.[46]

These specific ambiguities, contradictions, and errors were explainable. In 1915, he had lost his surveying instruments while eluding an Australian patrol, which explained why many of his assertions were vague and inconclusive, and his calculations inaccurate.[47] There was, furthermore, some independent verification that this was indeed true. The Australians had found a box of Detzner's equipment in the location where the missionary Johann Flierl's oldest son, Wilhelm, had kept (or stored) his small canoe. Although Wilhelm denied helping Detzner and his men, the Australians arrested and incarcerated him. This event coincided with one of Detzner's narrow escapes from Australian patrols in 1915 and was inadvertently corroborated in 1919 by the angry letter to The Argus's editor.[48] Some of Detzner's assertions could be sustained through observable physical evidence: he had reportedly wasted to a mere 40 kg while roaming in the bush, which should not have happened, some supporters claimed, if he had indeed been under the protection of Keyser and Thiele, but this weight loss could also have been due to his debilitating illness in 1917.[49]

Despite his explanations, the missionaries Thiele and Keyser, whose own autobiography appeared in 1929,[50] and the widely respected Mayr, who by this time had become the leader of the Whitney South Seas Expeditions, continued to challenge the bulk of Detzner's scientific "discoveries". Detzner's position became increasingly untenable. In 1932, he admitted that he had mixed fact and fiction in his book, explaining that he had never intended it to be taken as science, but rather at its face-value, as the story of his adventurous years in the jungles of New Guinea. The following year, Detzner resigned from the prestigious Geographical Society of Berlin.[51]

I wish to state that my book, Vier Jahre unter Kannibalen, contains a number of misrepresentations regarding my journeys in New Guinea. The book in question is a scientific report in part only; it is primarily a fictional account of my experiences in New Guinea and owes its origin to the unusual circumstances prevailing in Germany at the time of my return. Some of the journeys I had actually undertaken are not described at all; on the other hand it contains passages that do not correspond with the facts.[52]

After this, he withdrew entirely from public life, although he retained his position in the colonial archive. He lived in Schmargendorf, Berlin, on Auguste-Viktoria-Straße, then with his wife Cläre and daughter Marianne in Kleinmachnow. In May 1945 he was made prisoner of war by the Russians, but released only shortly thereafter. Fearing arrest, he travelled to Heidelberg, where the rich parents of his wife lived. On 1 May 1946 the Russians finally allowed wife and daughter to leave Kleinmachnow, four days later they also arrived in Heidelberg.

Hermann Detzner became the director of the Carl-Pfeffer Verlag, a publishing house in Heidelberg.[53]


Hermann Detzner died 1970 in Heidelberg at the age of 88 and was buried with great honors through friends, comrades and Bundeswehr.[54]


The ambiguous wording of Detzner's resignation from the Geographical Society of Berlin—the use of such phrases as contains misrepresentations, scientific report in part only, primarily fictional, unusual circumstances in Germany, and so on—misled later scholars, many of whom remained unaware of the controversy surrounding his book.[55] Consequently, his work continued to inform the geographical, linguistic, and anthropological investigations of New Guinean culture and geography well into the 1950s and 1960s,[56] much to the dismay of Ernst Mayr, who had been instrumental in discrediting Detzner in the 1920s.[57]

Since the mid–1970s, references to Four Years Among the Cannibals have continued to appear in studies on New Guinea.[58] In the 1990s, Detzner's work received some rehabilitation from ethnographer Terence Hays, who placed Detzner's work in its contemporary context: Four Years Among the Cannibals, he wrote, "paved the way for me [to become an ethnographer] by creating romanticized images that served as a backdrop for more serious readings".[59] Since then, geographer Robert Linke has raised some important questions: "Why did Detzner resort to lies to embellish his wonderful story? The unadorned truth would have been enough to establish him as one of the great figures in New Guinea history."[60]

Detzner had remained at large for four years, as a fugitive in enemy-held territory: surely, Linke concluded, this was an exceptional feat. No doubt the Australians could have made a more broadly organized attempt to capture him, and probably would have succeeded, but they did not make the effort; they preferred instead the more convenient "shoot-at-sight" method. "It is impossible", Linke wrote, "not to admire his [Detzner's] sheer elan, his courage and tenacity."[61] In 2008, Detzner's book was retranslated, reprinted, and marketed as a modern translation of a rare and valuable book about the exploration of the Guinean interior during World War I.[62]


  • 14 July 1901 Fahnenjunker
  • 14 October 1901 Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier
  • 31 January 1902 Fähnrich
    • 1 March 1902 to 24 January 1903 War Academy München
  • 9 March 1903 Leutnant
  • 26 October 1911 Oberleutnant
    • 1 July 1912 transfered from the Bavarian Army to the Schutztruppe
  • 23. October 1914 Hauptmann without patent/commission
    • 1 June 1915 patent/commission as Hauptmann received
  • 1920 Retired from the Reichswehr as Major
  • July 1939 Major z. V. of the Wehrmacht
  • 1 April 1942 Oberstleutnant z. V. (z. V. = at/to disposal of the Heer)
  • 1 April 1945 Oberst z. V.

Awards, decorations and honors

  • Prinzregent-Luitpold-Medaille on 12 March 1905
  • Bayerische Luitpold-Erinnerungsmedaille in August 1906
  • Prussian Order of the Crown (Preußischer Kronenorden), IV. Klasse on 11 June 1910
  • Militärverdienstorden (Bayern), IV. Klasse mit Schwertern am 4 March 1911
  • Kolonial-Denkmünze[63] mit Gefechtsspange on 12 April 1913[64]
  • Iron Cross, 2nd and 1st Class on 31 August 1919
  • Militärverdienstorden (Bayern), IV. Klasse mit Schwertern und mit der Krone, 1919
  • Bayerisches Dienstauszeichnungskreuz, II. Klasse
  • Ehrendoktorwürde (Dr. phil.) der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Köln on 31 July 1921
  • Eduard-Vogel-Medaille in Gold der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Leipzig, 1921
  • Gustav-Nachtigal-Medaille in Eisen der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin, 1921
  • Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
  • Kolonial-Denkmünze des Reichs-Kolonialbundes
  • Kriegsverdienstkreuz (1939), II. Klasse mit Schwertern on 20 April 1943
Book illustration showing a man with facial hair and a top knot in the middle of his head. The title is "Vier Jahre unter Kannibalen".
An illustration in Detzner's book depicted a characterization of the native New Guineans he encountered in his adventures; these were the people he called "the skirted ones".


  • (German) "Kamerun-Boundary: Die nigerische Grenze von Kamerun zwischen Yola und dem Cross-Fluss". Mitteilungen aus den Deutschen Schutzgebieten. 26:13, pp. 317–338.
  • (German) "Der Saruwaged und seine östlichen und südöstlichen Anschlussgebiete". Kolonial Rundschau. Number 25 (1919) (Booklets, 8, 9, 10) pp. 209–221.
  • (German) "Kreuz- und Querzüge in Kaiser-Wilhelmsland während des Weltkrieges: Februar 1914 bis November 1918". Mitteilungen aus den Deutschen Schutzgebieten. Volume 32 (1919), pp. 4–19.
  • (German) Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, nach dem Stande der Forschung im Jahre 1919, with Max Moisel, Map. Berlin [Mittler], 1919.
  • (German) Vier Jahre unter Kannibalen. Von 1914 bis zum Waffenstillstand unter deutscher Flagge im unerforschten Innern von Neuguinea, Scherl, Berlin, 1920, 1921.
  • (English) Four Years among the Cannibals, from 1914 to the Armistice under the German Flag in unexplored interior of New Guinea. Berlin, August Scherl, [1921].
  • (Finnish) Neljä vuotta ihmissyöjien parissa : Saksan lipun suojassa Uuden-Guinean tutkimattomissa sisäosissa 1914–1918. Porvoo, WSOY, 1925.
  • (French) Mœurs et coutumes des Papous: quatre ans chez les cannibales de Nouvelle-Guinée (1914–1918) Avec une carte. Paris, Payot, 1923, 1935.
  • (Swedish) Fyra år bland kannibaler. Ani Mari Nordman, trans. Helsingfors, Schildt, 1925.
  • (English) Four Years Among the Cannibals ... Gisela Batt, (Trans.), Pacific Press, Gold Coast, Australia, 2008. (Retranslation and reprint).
  • (German) "Medizinische und hygienische Streiflichter aus dem Innern von Neuguinea". Archiv für Schiffs- und Tropen-Hygiene, Pathologie und Therapie exotischer Krankheiten. 1921, 25(3): pp. 67–79.
  • (German) Im Lande der Dju-Dju. Reiseerlebnisse im östlichen Stromgebiet des Niger, Scherl, Berlin 1923.
  • (German) "Stammesgemeinschaften im Zentralgebiet von Deutsch-Neuguinea". Mitteilungen aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten, Volume 36 (1928), pp. 112–130.
  • (German) "Unter Unbekannten Kannibalen", Die Woche, 24. 1. 1925, Nr. 4.
  • (German) Die Kolonien unter Mandatsherrschaft. Berlin, Deutscher Wille, 1927.
  • (German) Das "Zentralgebirge" Neuguineas im Gebiet der Wasserscheide zwischen Hüon- und Papua-Golf. Map. Mitteilungen aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten, Kt. 3 im 2. Heft, Bd. XXXVI, 1928.

See also

Further reading

  • "Serious Charge by German", The Argus (Melbourne): 7, Friday 14 November 1919, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/4654922, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  • "Who is Detzner? Letters to the editor", The Argus (Melbourne): 21, Saturday 15 November 1919, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/4654012, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  • Bahnemann, Gunther, New Guinea crocodile poacher, London, Jarrolds, 1964.
  • (German) Biographisches Handbuch des Deutschen Auswärtigen Dienstes, 1871–1945: 1–F, 2000.
  • Biskup, P. "Herman Detzner: New Guinea's First Coast Watcher", Inl Papua and New Guinea Soc. (Port Moresby), 2(1). 1968, pp. 5–21.
  • Bridge, Carl, Review of: Heroes before Gallipoli: Bita Paka and that One Day in September by Kevin Meade. Wiley, ISBN 1-74031-117-5.
  • Detzner, Hermann (auth.), Gisela Batt, (trans.), Four Years Among the Cannibals, Pacific Press, Gold Coast, Australia, 2008. (Retranslation and Reprint)
  • (German) Drechsel, Edwin, Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen, 1857–1970: History, Fleet, Ship Mails, Cordillera Pub. Co., 1995, ISBN 1-895590-08-6
  • (German) Geographische Gesellschaft in Hamburg, Mitteilungen der Geographischen Gesellschaft in Hamburg, Volumes 36–37, p. 266.
  • (German) Grüntzig, Johannes W. and Heinz Mehldorn: Expedition ins Reich der Seuchen, Medizinische Himmelfahrtskommandos der deutschen Kaiser- und Kolonialzeit. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, München 2005, ISBN 3-8274-1622-1
  • Haffer, Jürgen, Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr 1904–2005, Springer, 2008, ISBN 3-540-71778-1.
  • Hays, Terence E., Ethnographic presents: pioneering anthropologists in Papua New Guinea, 1992.
  • (German) Hiery, Hermann Joseph (Hrsg.), Die Deutsche Südsee 1884–1914, Ein Handbuch. Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2001, ISBN 3-506-73912-3
  • (German) Korrespondenz-Blatt für Zahnarzte, v. 14, 1885.
  • (German) Küttelwesch, Ralf, "Der 'Lettow-Vorbeck der Südsee'", Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung, 10 June 2006.
  • Linke, Robert, "The influence of German surveying on the development of New Guinea", Shaping the Change: XXIII FIG Congress, Munich, Germany, 8–13 October 2006.
  • "Lost Peoples" of New Guinea were first Seen by German: Before the War and the Turning over of the Territory to Australia, Dr. Hermann Detzner Found 'Semites'. Science News Letter, 11 August 1934, pp. 83–84.
  • (Dutch) Klein, Willem Carel, Nieuw Guinea: de ontwikkeling op economisch, sociaal en cultureel gebied, Maastricht, Van der Vieter, 1953.
  • Meade, Kevin, Heroes before Gallipoli: Bita Paka and that One Day in September. Milton, Queensland: John Wiley & Sons Australia, 2005, ISBN 1-74031-117-5.
  • "Monthly Record", The Geographical Journal, 42:3, September 1913, pp. 294–301, p. 296.
  • (German) Mumm, Hans-Martin, "Hermann Detzner", "Carl-Pfeffer Verlag", Heidelberger Geschichtsverein e.V, 2003–.
  • State Records Authority of New South Wales, New South Wales Government. Reports of vessels arrived (or Shipping reports). Series 1291, Reels 1263–1285, 2851. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.
  • (German) Ritter, Jürgen, "Der Münchhausen der Südsee", Spiegel online.
  • Romaine, Suzanne, "Grammaticalization of the Proximative in Tok Pisin". Language, vol. 75 , No. 2. (June 1999), pp. 322–346.
  • (German) Schnee, Heinrich, (ed.), "Hermann Detzner", Deutsches Kolonial-Lexikon. Band 1, p. 752, Leipzig 1920.
  • Snow, Philip and Stefanie Waine, The People from the Horizon, Phaidon-Dutton, 1979. ISBN 978-0-7148-2006-4
  • Souter, Gavin, New Guinea: The Last Unknown, Angus and Robertson, 1963. ISBN 978-0-207-13041-0
  • Spinks, K. L. "The Wahgi River Valley of Central New Guinea", The Geographical Journal, 87:3, March 1936, 222–228.
  • (German) Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde in Berlin, 1932, pp. 307–08.

External links


  1. His most important book was Praktische Darstellung der Zahnersatzkunde (A practical treatise on Mechanical Dentistry), which was republished in 1899; (German) Adolf Petermann, Zahnärztlicher Almanach: Ein alphabetisch geordnetes Namensverzeichniss. sv. Frankfurt, 1877, p. 8; (German) Korrespondenz-Blatt für Zahnärzte, v. 14, 1885, p. 368; (German) Biographisches Handbuch des Deutschen Auswärtigen Dienstes, 1871–1945: 1–F, 2000. p. 415; British Dental Association, Journal of the British Dental Association, vol. 6, 1885, p. 60: the full name is Praktische Darstellung der Zahnersatzkunde. Eine Abhandlung über alle Zweige dieser Disciplin.
  2. Kriegsministerium, Verordnungsblatt des Königlich Bayerischen Kriegsministeriums, Munich, 1902. p. 34.
  3. (German) 9 August 1908, destination Duala, from Hamburg to the West coast of Africa. Leutnant Hermann Detzner, ship name: Lucie Wörmann, Captain Ihrcke, the Wörmann Linie KG, where he occupied first cabin. Hamburg Passagierlisten, 1850–1934, Volume: 373 7 I, VIII A 1 Band 202, p. 1018. Microfilm Roll Number: K 1805.
  4. (German) 24 July 1912, Hermann Detzner, Oberleutnant, destination Lagos, age 30. Ship Name Eleonore Wörmann, Ship's Captain Pankow. Wörmann Linie KG. Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850–1934 Hamburg to Westküste Afrika, volume 373 7.I, VIII A 1 Band 248.
  5. "Monthly Record", The Geographical Journal, 42:3, September 1913, pp. 294–301, p. 296.
  6. (German) Detzner, Hermann, (Oberleut.) "Kamerun Boundary: Die nigerische Grenze von Kamerun zwischen Yola und dem Cross-fluss." M. Teuts. Schutzgeb. 26(1913), pp. 317–338.
  7. Linke, p. 3; K. L. Spinks, "The Wahgi River Valley of Central New Guinea", The Geographical Journal, 87:3, March 1936, pp. 222–28, p. 222.
  8. Robert Linke, The influence of German surveying on the development of New Guinea, Shaping the Change: XXIII FIG Congress, Munich, Germany, 8–13 October 2006, pp. 1–17, p. 10.
  9. Linke, pp. 8–9.
  10. Souter, pp. 119–120
  11. Linke, p. 11.
  12. Linke, p. 9.
  13. Souter, p. 120; "Who is Detzner" Argus (Victoria) Letters to the Editor. Melbourne, Australia. 15 November 1919.
  14. Linke, pp. 10–11.
  15. (German) Johannes W. Grüntzig, and Heinz Mehldorn, "Expedition ins Reich der Seuchen, Medizinische Himmelfahrtskommandos der deutschen Kaiser- und Kolonialzeit." Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, München 2005.
  16. Biskup, P. "Herman Detzner: New Guinea's First Coast Watcher", Inl Papua and New Guinea Soc. (Port Moresby), 2(1). 1968, pp. 5–21, cited pp. 18;.
  17. Linke, p. 11; Argus (Vic), 15 November 1919.
  18. Biskup, pp. 6–8; Linke, pp. 10–11.
  19. Biskup, p. 10; Linke, pp. 11–12; Kevin Meade, Heroes before Gallipoli: Bita Paka and that One Day in September. Milton, Queensland, John Wiley & Sons Australia, 2005, pp. 75–80.
  20. Carl Bridge, Review of: Heroes before Gallipoli: Bita Paka and that One Day in September by Kevin Meade. Milton, Queensland: John Wiley & Sons Australia, 2005; Linke, p. 10; Souter, p. 120.
  21. Edwin Drechsel, Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen, 1857–1970: History, Fleet, Ship Mails, Cordillera Pub. Co., 1995, ISBN 1-895590-08-6 p. 390.
  22. Linke, pp. 11–12.
  23. Linke, p. 12.
  24. Biskup, pp. 14–20; Linke, pp. 11–12.
  25. Linke, p. 11–12; Meade, p. 73.
  26. The camp was called Holdsworthy, near Liverpool, outside of Sydney. The town is now called Holsworthy. It served as a prison (1914–1919, and 1939–1945. German Concentration Camp, Holsworthy near Liverpool, NSW [picture] Circa 1919. Book held in the National Archives of Australia.
  27. New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826–1922, New South Wales Government. Inward passenger lists. Series 13278, Reels 399–560, 2001: 2122, 2751. State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. Linke, p. 11.
  28. Ultimately it required over 45,000 British troops to contain Lettow-Vorbeck until he finally surrendered on 14 November 1918. Ritter, Münchhausen.
  29. (German) Geographische Gesellschaft in Hamburg, Mitteilungen der Geographischen Gesellschaft in Hamburg, Volumes 36–37, p. 266.
  30. (German) Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, nach dem Stande der Forschung im Jahre 1919, (with Max Moisel, Map. Berlin [Mittler], 1919.
  31. (German) Biographisches Handbuch Deutsch-Neuguinea; Fassberg 22002, p. 72; (German) Ritter, Jürgen, "Der Münchhausen der Südsee", Spiegel online; Geographische Gesellschaft in Hamburg, p. 266; Jürgen Haffer, Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr 1904–2005, Springer, 2008, ISBN 3-540-71778-1, p. 73.
  32. Linke, p. 11; 'Argus (Melbourne, Vic).
  33. Ritter, Münchhausen.
  34. Biskup, pp. 20–21.
  35. "Serious Charge by German: Slave hunts among the natives" The Argus. Melbourne, Australia. Friday 14 November 1919, p. 7.
  36. "Comment by the Minister", Argus. Melbourne, Australia, 14 November 1919, p. 7.
  37. "Who is Captain Detzner? The Argus. Melbourne, Australia. 15 November 1919, p. 21.
  38. Biskup, pp. 16–19; Spinks, p. 228.
  39. Biskup, pp. 14–18; Spinks, p. 228
  40. Küttelwesch, 2006; Suzanne Romaine, "Grammaticalization of the Proximative in Tok Pisin". Language, vol. 75, No. 2 (June 1999), pp. 322–346, p. 328. Unserdeutsch (our German) refers to the Creole—German language developed at the orphanages in Herbertshöhe and Rabaul.
  41. Argus (Vic), 15 November 1919.
  42. Argus (Vic), 15 November 1919.
  43. Hafer, p. 73.
  44. "Lost Peoples" of New Guinea were first Seen by German: Before the War and the Turning over of the Territory to Australia, Dr. Hermann Detzner Found "Semites". Science News Letter, 11 August 1934, p. 83.
  45. There is some evidence to support this claim; his correspondence with several Australian government officials appears to be his attempt to recover some of his notes. For example, see Papers of E.W.P. Chinnery, Director, Department of District Services and Native Affairs, New Guinea, 1932–38.
  46. Linke, p. 11.
  47. Linke, pp. 11–12.
  48. Linke, p. 12; Argus (Vic), 15 November 1919.
  49. Biskup, p. 14; Science News Letter, p. 83; Linke, p. 12.
  50. (German) Christian Keyser, Das bin bloss ich. Lebenserinnerungen. (It is merely me: Memoirs.) Neuendettelsau, Freimund-Verlag, (1929) 1966.
  51. Biskup, pp. 1, 14; Hafer, pp. 73–74; Linke, p. 12; Ritter, Münchhausen.
  52. (German) Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde in Berlin, 1932, pp. 307–08; Linke, p. 12.
  53. (German) Hans-Martin Mumm, "Hermann Detzner", "Carl-Pfeffer Verlag", Heidelberger Geschichtsverein e.V, Year book; Ritter, Münchhausen.
  54. Ritter, Münchhausen; (German) "Detzner, H," Koloniales Hand- und Adreßbuch 1926–1927, p. 180.
  55. Haffer, p. 73.
  56. For examples, see: (Dutch) Willem Carel Klein, Nieuw Guinea: de ontwikkeling op economisch, sociaal en cultureel gebied, (New Guinea: its economic, social, and cultural development), Maastricht, Van der Vieter, 1953, p. 110; Gunther Bahnemann, New Guinea crocodile poacher, London, Jarrolds, 1964, p. 265; Gavin Souter, New Guinea, the Last Unknown, London, Jarrolds, 1964, p. 110; David A. M. Lea, et. al, "Geographers in Papua New Guinea: a preliminary bibliography", Australian Geographer, 1465–3311, (13:2), 1975, pp. 104–145.
  57. Haffer, pp. 73–74.
  58. For examples, see: Philip Snow, Stefanie Waine, The People from the Horizon, 1979, p. 221; (German) Wilhelm Ziehr, Hölle im Paradies, 1980, p. 94; Royal Geographical Society (eds), The Geographical Journal, 1991, p. 435.
  59. Terence E. Hays, Ethnographic presents: pioneering anthropologists in Papua New Guinea, 1992, p. 70.
  60. Linke, p. 12.
  61. Linke, pp. 11–12 (quoted from p. 12).
  62. Hermann Detzner (auth.), Gisela Batt, (Trans.), Four Years Among the Cannibals, Pacific Press, Gold Coast, Australia, 2008.
  63. Kolonial-Denkmünze
  64. Kolonial-Denkmünze, award list