Otto Schlaginhaufen - Member of the German Naval Expedition (1907-1909) Otto SchlaginhaufenMember of the German Naval Expedition (1907-1909) By Rainer F. Buschmann Otto Schlaginhaufen (1879-1973) was a Swiss physical anthropologist and ethnographer, who became a well-known eugenicist. He traveled to German New Guinea as a member of the German Naval Expedition (1907-1909). At the conclusion of the venture, he remained in the colony collecting ethnographica and human remains for the Dresden Museum until late 1909. Otto Schlaginhaufen on the right next to Franz and Frida Boluminski, Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, Museum fur Völkerkunde Dresden, F 19121/1 A Swiss national, Schlaginhaufen was born in St. Gallen. He studied anthropology at the University of Zürich, from where he graduated with a Ph.D. in 1905. Following his degree, he worked at the Berlin Ethnographic Museum until 1906, when he became an assistant at the Royal Dresden Museum. Only a year later, he was invited by Felix von Luschan to participate in the German Naval Expedition that the Berlin director helped organize. Luschan had organized this expedition partially to resolve the ethnographic collecting impasses characterizing the colonial residents of German New Guinea. Additionally, he hoped to mount a project countering the powerful Hamburg South Sea expedition, the execution of which Luschan had unsuccessfully attempted to halt. Finally, by engaging the Dresden museum, the Berlin director also hoped to create a counterweight to Hamburg’s support by the Leipzig museum located in the same Saxon state. Luschan and his Dresden counterpart, Arnold Jacobi, negotiated hard. Although Luschan insisted that Schlaginhaufen obtained only a negligible amount of duplicates from the Naval Expedition, he allowed the physical anthropologist to collect human remains and perform anthropometric measurements. In addition, the Berlin director vowed to support Schlaginhaufen’s collection efforts in Kaiser Wilhelmsland (the part of New Guinea claimed by the Germans) following the conclusion of the Naval venture. As a result, when Schlaginhaufen returned to Dresden in early 1910, he brought with him about 800 human skulls, 1,200 individual measurements, and about 1,500 ethnographic artifacts. The Naval Expedition became a formative event in Schlaginhaufen's life, even if the journey was everything but uneventful. On the journey to German New Guinea, the Swiss anthropologist clashed with cantankerous fellow expedition member Edgar Walden, contributing to expedition leader Emil Stephan's decision to let Walden operate independently. Upon reaching the German territory, governor Albert Hahl (see Provenance biography) redirected the Naval endeavor from its original target of New Britain to neighboring New Ireland. The salvage paradigm's guiding the Naval Expedition members predicted that the local malagan and uli rituals would rapidly disappear. Hahl also hoped that the venture would provide insights useful for his colonial administration, such as investigations into population decline, public health, and reliable statistics. Walden was left to research northern New Ireland under the protection of colonial officer Franz Boluminski (see Provenance biography). Schlaginhaufen, Stephan, and the official photographer Richard Schilling and a small but well armed indigenous police force set up camp in Muliama in the island's southern region. VI 31169, Figure, New Ireland, Muliama Region. Collected by Otto Schlaginhaufen as a member of the German Navy Expedition, Photographer Martin Franke Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preuβischer Kulturbesitz In Muliama, Schlaginhaufen collected artifacts, human remains and performed anthropometric measurements on the local society. The base camp invited populations to travel from hard-to-reach villages, and the Swiss anthropologist welcomed the opportunity, under the guise of gathering useful colonial knowledge, to measure a significant portion of southern New Ireland's population. However, this situation was not to last. In May of 1908, the expedition leader, Emil Stephan, contracted black water fever, a deadly complication of malaria, and was quickly dispatched to Namatanai in central New Ireland. The official residing there, Wilhelm Wostrack (see Provenance biography), had some training as a medic but was unable to save Stephan's life. Stephan's death ushered in a period of uncertainty for the surviving expedition members. Schlaginhaufen, for instance, took advantage of the hospitality of Hernsheim Manager Max Thiel (see Provenance biography) to spend some time in Matupi while exploring some of the sights of the Bismarck Archipelago. The German Navy, as the official sponsor of the expedition, decided to appoint Augustin Krämer to lead the venture. Schlaginhaufen, who preferred to operate independently, initially objected but ultimately accepted Krämer's leadership. Arriving with his wife Elizabeth, Krämer abandoned the stationary camp at Muliama and turned the Naval Expedition into a much more mobile affair. Schlaginhaufen, missing the opportunity to measure the inhabitants of southern New Ireland, opted to visit many of the surrounding islands of New Ireland. When the Naval Expedition official ended in June 1909, the Swiss anthropologist traveled to Kaiser Wilhelmsland to independently continue his studies. In the German part of New Guinea island, Schlaginhaufen once again enjoyed the assistance of existing colonial networks: Colonial, commercial, and missionary officials. The New Guinea Company, for instance, allowed him to travel up the newly opened Sepik River, where he collected close to 300 artifacts. Schlaginhaufen also encountered several fellow anthropologists, such as Richard Neuhauss, who collected ethnographica for the Berlin Museum. Likewise, he met A. B. Lewis, who was on a mission to acquire artifacts for the Field Museum in Chicago. Comparing notes with fellow anthropologists, ship captains, and missionaries, Schlaginhaufen became well informed about which regional objects to collect and would return to Dresden with a large assemblage of 1500 artifacts. Over next few years, Schlaginhaufen would obtain the Prussian Order of the Crown IV class for his participation in the Naval Expedition and the Saxon Knight’s Cross of the Order of Albrecht II class for the collection efforts in Kaiser Wilhelmsland. 25178-2 Ceramic pot collected by Schlaginhaufen along the Sepik, Photographer Sylvia Pereira, Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, Museum fur Völkerkunde Dresden. VI 33867, Ancestor Figure, Lower Sepik, Olem, Collector Otto Schlaginhaufen, exchanged with Berlin in 1911. Photographer Martin Franken. Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preuβischer Kulturbesitz Upon his arrival in the Saxon capital, Schlaginhaufen busied himself with evaluating the results from his trip to Kaiser Wilhelmsland. He published a summary of the travels and attempted a first comparative study of Sepik material culture in the local museum journal. Finally, between March and April of 1910, he organized an exhibition of the ethnographic material at the Dresden museum. Unfortunately, the precarious pecuniary situation forced museum officials to sell or trade numerous duplicates of Schlaginhaufen's collection. In 1911, the Swiss anthropologist would follow a call to return to his home country, leaving another assistant working at the museum, Oskar Nuoffer, with the tasks of finishing the catalogue and publishing the results. When Schlaginhaufen’s mentor Rudolf Martin retired from his chair of Anthropology in Zürich in 1911, the young anthropologist was called to the Swiss city to fill this critical job. He would hold this position until his retirement in the early 1950s and became a highly influential and controversial personality in Swiss anthropology. Partially inspired by his experiences in the German colony, Schlaginhaufen argued for the primacy of race in accounting for human variation. He opposed racial mixing and sought to improve the “white race” through eugenics. In the early 1920’s he became a founding member of the Julius Klaus Foundation that concerned itself with matters of race and eugenics. Switzerland was a neutral country in both the First and Second World wars, and Schlaginhaufen used this diplomatic advantage to turn Zürich into a central institution for physical anthropology. He compensated for the loss of the German colonial empire by sending his students to the British colonies. Likewise, he collaborated with German Nazi scientists and is perhaps best known for his anthropometric measurement of Swiss army recruits. Between 1927 and 1932, he measured over 35,000 of them and employed this sample to make some alarming statements about what he perceived as the racial hygiene of the Swiss people. He argued that less than ten percent were indeed racially pure, with the large percentage displaying his dreaded racial intermixing. When racial theories fell out of fashion at the end of the Second World War, Schlaginhaufen would shift his studies from Swiss citizens to the data he collected on his earlier journey to colonial New Guinea. After retiring from his chair in the early 1950s, Schlaginhaufen shifted his research from Europe to the Pacific. Laboring on anthropometric measurements and human remains he collected over forty years earlier, the Swiss anthropologist felt he could publish his racial views with relative impunity. In the late 1950s, he published a memoir on his journeys in New Guinea. As late as the mid-1960s, he published close to 1000 measurements performed on the inhabitants of New Ireland in an attempt to provide a supposedly pure and undiluted racial assessment of this island. In the twenty years following Schlaginhaufen’s death in 1973, his scientific outlooks were questioned. Although Switzerland was no colonial nation, Schlaginhaufen used foreign empires to gain information about his hardened racial view that tolerated and supported Nazi excesses and consequent genocide in the 1930s and 1940s.