Krenkel Ernst Teodorovich 
(11(24).12.1903–08.12.1971)


Soviet polar explorer, radio operator, member of numerous Arctic expeditions, Hero of the Soviet Union. 
Born in Bialystok (now Poland) in the family of a teacher of German and Latin languages. In 1910, Krenkeli moved to Moscow. Parents belonged to the labor intelligentsia, had an average income, which allowed them not to feel the need and provide children with a good education. In 1913, Krenkel was defined in the Reformed gymnasium at the Swiss church, but because of the world and civil wars that had begun, he could not finish it.In order to help the family financially, he began to earn money, not disdaining any work to which he had been accustomed to by his parents since childhood: he worked as a parcel wrapper, poster poster, assistant electrician, assistant mechanic. Of course, such a life could not satisfy the capable young man, and in 1921 he entered the nine-month course of radio telegraphs. This decision determined the course of his entire life. At the final exams, he showed the highest speed of the radio program and was sent to work at the Lyubertsy radio station, while graduates of these courses were usually first sent to the labor exchange. Having mastered the practical work at the radio station, Krenkel decided to continue studying the radio business and entered the radio technical school, but two years later he abandoned both the work at the station and the studies. "I was drawn to wander and I definitely wanted to go to the sea". He decided to get a radio operator to the fleet and for this purpose in 1924 with a scanty amount of money went to Leningrad. There he was disappointed - there were only a few ships at that time, and even experienced personnel radio operators and sailors were out of work. But every cloud has a silver lining. Life itself led the young Krenkel to the path on which he had managed to achieve outstanding success. From one of the unemployed radio operators, he learned that the Hydrographic Office is urgently looking for a radio operator on an expedition to an island in the Arctic Ocean. There are no people willing - they pay little, the expedition is a long one year. After a short conversation with the head of the Arctic Ocean Expedition N.N.Matusevich. All the necessary documents were issued with lightning speed by, and on the same day Krenkel went to Arkhangelsk, from where he went to his first wintering at the Mtshar station. It immediately turned out that the entire warehouse of Krenkel's character, namely, contact, goodwill towards people, a developed sense of humor, and the ability not to shy away from any work, perfectly corresponded to the requirements of life and work in polar conditions. After overwintering, which turned out to be a real school of life for him, Krenkel served a year in the Separate Radio-Telegraph Battalion. The twenties were a period of rapid development and introduction of short-wave radio communications into practice, and Krenkel, who had already become an experienced radio operator, was set on fire with the idea of ​​using it in the Arctic. He managed to interest the Hydrographic Department with this idea, received a complete set of necessary equipment and in 1927 went back to Matshar. The test results of the shortwave station turned out to be quite impressive. Krenkel managed to establish communication with subscribers at distances completely inaccessible for high-power long-wave transmitters. Soon, following the example of Krenkel, the polar station “Dickson Island” passed over to the short-wave link. Gradually, short waves entered into the practice of work and other polar stations, which allows us to consider Krenkel the ancestor of their use in the Arctic. 
In 1929, the expedition of the Institute for the Study of the North on the icebreaker "G. Sedov”under the direction of O. Yu. Schmidt and V.I. Voronin organized the first in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land and at that time the northernmost polar station in the world "Quiet Bay". The only first radio operator, Krenkel, was also in the first seven wintering camps. Despite the huge workload of radio communications routine, Krenkel managed to devote time to working with shortwave. On January 12, 1930, he managed to contact the radio operator of the American Antarctic Expedition R. Baird, wintering on the Ross Ice Shelf. It was a world radio range record. Krenkel's name received world fame, and it was not by chance that he was invited to participate in an international expedition on the Graf Zeppelin airship, conceived by F. Nansen. The airship flew along the closed route Friedrichshawen (Germany) - Berlin - Leningrad - Arkhangelsk - ZFI - Severnaya Zemlya - Taimyr - Dikson - Novaya Zemlya - Arkhangelsk - Leningrad - Berlin - Friedrichshaven. 
In subsequent years, Krenkel participated in a number of famous expeditions, each of which became a milestone in the history of the development of the Arctic. 
In 1932 he was part of an expedition on the icebreaking ship “A. Sibiryakov”, which made the first through flight on the Northern Sea Route from Arkhangelsk to the Pacific Ocean during one navigation. During the whole navigation the radio operators E.N. Girshevich and Krenkel provided communication of the vessel with the outside world. To make it in those years was difficult. Of the total 12 stationary radio stations then available in the Arctic, 10 were located in the western sector. At a great distance from Cape Chelyuskin to the Bering Strait, there were only 2 polar stations on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island (Shalaurova) and Wrangel Island, the latter being inactive due to the lack of a radio operator. From radio operators "A. Sibiryakova” required not only the highest professional skill, but also great patience and perseverance, having shown that, they greatly contributed to the success of the expedition. 
Achievement “A. Sibiryakov”caused a clear euphoria among the leaders of the Main Sea Route, created at the end of the expedition. It was not taken into account that the vessel made the last part of the journey from the Chukchi Sea to the Bering Sea with broken propellers on the sails, using favorable winds and currents. It was decided in 1933 to do the same on the ship of non-ice class "Chelyuskin", which, in addition to passing through, was supposed to deliver cargo and change of polar explorers on Wrangel Island. On board the ship were scientists, journalists, writers, cameramen, artists. Among polar explorers there were women, one of them is pregnant, and a child.The head of the radio in the flight went Krenkel. It was expected that this trip will glorify the Soviet Union and its achievements in the Arctic. He glorified him all over the world, but with a somewhat unexpected side for the organizers. The most complicated problems were created and then successfully solved. The Chelyuskin, which was unfit for ice swimming, received a leak in the relatively weak ice of the Kara Sea that year, and on February 13, 1934 it was crushed by ice in the Chukchi Sea. The Chelyuskin epic is a bright page in arctic history that glorified the courage of the Soviet people and the country's capabilities in a situation where there is nowhere to go. The great role of Krenkel is that in the end everything ended well. During the whole navigation radio communication was carried out reliably. It played an especially important role after the ship’s death, providing clear and uninterrupted guidance of rescue operations. Name Krenkel, like many other participants in the epic, has become truly legendary. 
Already in the following 1935, Krenkel headed a four of polar explorers at Cape Olovyanny,  the island of the October Revolution, the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago. After having labored there for a year and ensuring the viability and normal operation of the station, at the suggestion of Krenkel and with the approval of the management, he and N.G. In the spring of 1936, Mehrengin relocated to the preserved polar station “Domashniy Island”, which in 1930-1932. was the base of the expedition, G.A. Ushakov, who put on the map the entire archipelago of Northern Earth. The relocation carried out by Krenkel was very risky. It was not known exactly what the condition of the housing is, what the quantity and range of products there was, or whether there was enough fuel. 
But it was necessary, and a man like Krenkel could have no doubts.

 

Polar station "Cape Olovianniy"

From left to right: A.A. Golubev, N.G. Mehrengin, E.T. Krenkel,

B.A. Kremer. 1936


The situation was difficult. The main thing was the lack of quality and variety of products. In July, Mehrengin, and behind him, Krenkel fell ill with scurvy. The disease was severe, swollen and turned purple-blue legs, dizziness and shortness of breath appeared, and weakness developed. Until recently, Krenkel concealed the true state of affairs, and it was only when Mehrengina’s condition became critical that he sent his famous radiogram: “Since mid-June, the supports of both cars are subject to corrosion.There are no materials for repair. Hello from Zander. Krenkel. In these words, all Krenkel is courageous, not accustomed to complaining, with an indestructible sense of humor. Everything became clear to all. If Krenkel sends such a telegram, it means an emergency situation. On September 1, “A. Sibiryakov" with the change. This world-famous, modest expedition was later recalled by Krenkel himself as his highest human and professional achievement. 
In the late autumn of 1936, Krenkel returned to Moscow, and already in May of the following year he was made up of four polar explorers under the guidance of I.D.Papanin landed on the drifting ice near the North Pole. The work program of SP-1 station included a wide range of oceanographic, oceanological, meteorological, geophysical and other types of scientific observations. To a large extent, the value of these observations depended on the speed and regularity of the transfer of information to coordinating research centers, i.e. on the reliability of the radio. Given the importance and complexity of the task, a radio operator such as Krenkel was assigned to this task. He coped brilliantly with his task, despite the fact that his workload was extremely high. Four times a day, regular weather reports, extensive reports, reports on all scientific observations, correspondence to newspapers were transmitted. Received a huge array of incoming messages. In addition, in addition to the current work, Krenkel conducted observations on the passage of radio waves, maintained radio contact with a large number of amateur shortwave waves, participated in general station work on the station, and helped in labor-intensive deep-water hydrological studies. All this was done to them with enthusiasm and pleasure. And, finally, Krenkel's invaluable role at the final stage of the drift. Due to the destruction of the ice floe polar explorers had to leave their living tent. The radio station was mounted on sledges in the open air, nevertheless Krenkel continued regular work - the successful completion of the expedition depended on it. Focusing on Krenkel's radio messages, on February 19, 1938, the icebreaking steamers Taimyr and Murman approached the station and took down polar explorers. The activity of all the participants in the drift was appreciated. Like his comrades, Krenkel received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (Medal No. 73), was awarded the Order of Lenin, elected deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and an honorary member of the All-Union Geographical Society, received the degree of Doctor of Geographical Sciences. 
This drift was the last Arctic expedition of Krenkel. In the following years, he worked at the Central Office of the Main Northern Sea Route, headed the Department of Polar Stations, headed one of the Moscow radio plants, and from 1951 until the end of his life he worked at the Research Institute of Hydrometeorological Instrumentation of the Main Directorate of the USSR Hydrometeorological Service (since 1969 was director). But in the shower until the end of his days he remained a polar polar romantic.His dream even in the last years of his life was the organization of a single wintering in the Arctic, but he certainly did not receive permission to do so. Nevertheless, he managed once again at the age of 65 to break into the polar ice, this time in Antarctica as the head of the expedition on the ship “Professor Zubov”.

 

A plaque on the house №1 on the street Chapygin in Moscow

 


Until the end of his days, Krenkel remained highly active, despite his noticeable health. In 1971, he was supposed to fly to Cuba, he was given prophylactic vaccinations, dramatically worsened his condition. I only got into bed when I could not stand on my feet. The children called an ambulance. Getting into the car, he greeted the driver and said: “Hello to the pilot”. These were his last words.

In addition to the Hero Star, Krenkel was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, two Orders of the Red Star and medals. 
He was buried in Moscow at the Novodevichy cemetery.

 

Krenkel Bay


Bay on the east coast of the island Komsomolets archipelago Severnaya Zemlya. At the suggestion of the Hydrographic Enterprise Ministry of the Navy USSR, the name was approved by a decision of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Executive Committee of March 2, 1973.

 

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