Kruger Hans Kurt Erik
geologist, arctic explorer.
Born in Prussia near Posen (Poznan) in the family of a factory
graduated from elementary school near Dresden and entered the
gymnasium in Nuremberg, from which he graduated in 1905. At
the insistence of his father, Kruger, for almost two years from
autumn 1905 to summer 1907, studied law in Jena, and at the same
time attended a number of lectures on natural sciences. He
was also interested in art, literature, he even tried to start a
career as a writer and literary critic, but Kruger was especially
attracted to reports and reports on polar research.
In 1907, the family moved from Dresden to Frankenthal, and Kruger
continued his education at the University of Göttingen. But
suddenly he was abandoned by the desire to make an academic career,
and he went to South-West Africa, where he spent 14 full adventurous
years, going from worker to mine manager and leader of large
exploration expeditions in the Kalahari and Namib deserts. The
practical geological knowledge acquired by Kruger during this period
was very useful to him in the future.
Upon returning from Africa, Kruger intended to take part in an
expedition through the Northwest Passage, then on an Antarctic
expedition, but neither of these projects was possible.
During World War I, Kruger served in the South-West African
colonial forces, but then, at the request of the German government,
became a partisan leader who fought against Britain. He
was taken prisoner, sentenced to death, escaped, was captured again,
but finally pardoned.
After the end of the war, Kruger returned to Germany and entered
as a freelance assistant at the Geological Institute of the
Darmstadt Technical High School. His
restless soul did not allow him a long time to do desk work. Now
he was attracted not by the hot Africa, but by the icy icy Arctic.
Initially, Kruger conceived a five-year expedition, whose plans
included a survey of the Mackenzie Delta, the islands of Victoria,
Melville, and the search for unknown land north-west of Fr. Ellef
Ringnes and the return to the Bering Strait. Then
his plans changed. He
decided to start an expedition from Greenland and spend a year among
the Eskimos to learn from them the way of life and hunting skills,
to live on Ellesmere Island for the second year to consolidate their
acquired skills, and in subsequent years to search for the suspected
Lands of Croker and Bradley. The
implementation of Kruger’s plans faced a lot of diplomatic and
bureaucratic delays by the Canadian government. Receipt
of work permits within Canadian territories was delayed, and Kruger
decided to conduct a preparatory expedition to Western Greenland. At
the end of July 1925, he and Professor F. Klute left Copenhagen on
the Danish steamer Hans Egede. The
vessel made a difficult transition to Gothob, and then moved north
along the coast. During
some camps, scientists were able to make walking excursions. Arriving
in the area of Disco
and Svartenhoek, Kruger and Klute for the first time crossed on
Nugsuak Peninsula, which was considered
the end of November, they returned to Copenhagen on the same “Hans
In Germany, Kruger continued work at the Institute of Geology and
published a number of written works on the geology of Western
Greenland, published a description of his Arctic geological research
in German and English, and also wrote several articles on economic
prospects, demographic and racial problems in South Africa and an
article on Angola, prepared his dissertation "On the geology of
Western Greenland", which was subsequently published.
November 19, 1928 he was elected an honorary member of the Royal
Only in 1929, Kruger was able to undertake the second expedition,
which became his last. With
the participation of Dr. Drescher and Dr. Niland in the summer, he
explored the Disco Area
and visited Svartenhoek. In
the fall, both Kruger satellites returned, and he, along with the
hunter Danish AR Biare, traveled further north to the Canadian
steamer and spent the winter at the Eskimos near Nerke in the north
of Greenland. At
the beginning of 1930, Kruger made a training sledding trip along
the northern coast of Greenland, and in February with several
Eskimos left through the frozen Smith
Strait to the
Canadian government post on the
Bach Peninsula on the
east coast of Ellesmere Island, from where he intended to go to the
arrived at the post on March 12th. Eyewitnesses
claim that Kruger suffered from violent convulsions and vomiting,
but attributed these symptoms to poisoning, which he had received
the previous fall.
Leaving a note requesting replenishment, March 19, Kruger with
Biara and local hunter Akyoka headed west. On
April 11, the pair of sleds accompanying them returned to the police
post and two days later went home. It
turned out that the path that the Kruger party was covering was very
difficult due to bad weather conditions and a large amount of heavy
returnees also noted that Kruger and Biare were in very poor
physical condition: Biare froze his toes, and Kruger spat blood,
climbing the hill. It
was assumed that Kruger had planned to go around the island
of Axel-Heiberg and
return either to the police post on the
Bach Peninsula or in
the south of the island of Ellesmere.
They began to worry after information about Kruger did not appear
by the beginning of winter. In
the spring of 1931, the search party of the sleigh tried to reach
Axel-Heiberg island from the Beich Peninsula, but was unable to do
so due to the lack of snow. We
went south to the police post in the south of Ellesmere Island, but
no traces of Kruger were found.
In the summer of 1931 the fruitless search for the Kruger group
in the southern part of Ellesmere
led a patrol on the Biotic ship under the direction of Major
The German government refused to finance the search, and in 1932
Canada conducted them again. Two
ground search groups were organized: one under the leadership of
Stolowerty, the second - Hamilton. They
started west at the end of March from Beich Peninsula and crossed
Ellesmere Island. The
Stolowerti group headed north and reached the northern end of
Axel-Heiberg through the Nansen Strait. Here,
on the cape
of Thomas Hubbard, rescuers
in Guria, left in 1906 by R. Pirie, found a Kruger note written in
German: “The German Arctic Expedition reached this cairn on April
24, 1930 and found messages from Piri and Mac-Millan here. Copies
were made. We
come from Lands Locke and head to the island of Mien”.
Stolowery was inspired by his discovery - now a specific goal has
become apparent - the island
of Mien. However,
the rescuers could not get there, although the island was perfectly
visible through the strait which was packed with ice covered with
ice. Sverdrup. They
ran out of supplies of dog food, which could not be replenished on
the island of Mien. The
patrol moved south, examined the southern part of Axel-Heiberg
then to the northeast and east, losing exhausted dogs. Having
spent 65 days in hikes and having overcome a total of 2,250 km, the
patrol returned to the Beich Peninsula.
Hamilton, after parting with Stolowerty, headed south. His
group explored the southern part of
Axel-Heiberg and Cornwall, and on the way back Bjorn
Peninsula in the
south-west of Ellesmere Island. In
just 49 days, this patrol traveled 1,510 km, not finding any traces
of the Kruger group. In
their reports, the leaders noted that it would have been impossible
to survive in such difficult conditions with so little game, and
suggested that the Kruger expedition, being not well prepared, died
approximately in the winter of 1930-1931.
In this search virtually were terminated. It
seems strange that no one tried to reach the island of Mien, which
was indicated in the Kruger note.
Until 1954 there was no new information about the missing
year R.J. Christie
and J. Hattars on the westernmost cape of Ellesmere Island in Guria,
built in 1906 by R.
Peary, discovered a Kruger note dated two days earlier than the
note found by Stalworth in 1932. It
read: “The German Arctic Expedition, going from Nerke in Northern
Greenland towards the Bay Fjord, reached this pyramid, built by
Peary, on April 22, 1930. No
messages found. We
are heading towards the northern edge of the island of Geyberg. One
sleigh, 17 dogs and 3 people, all in good condition".
Finally, in the spring of 1957, Dr. R. Thorsteinsson of the
Geological Survey of Canada, conducting a geological survey, found
the Kruger message, dated May 6, 1930, at
Cape Anderson on
Mien Island. It
“The German Arctic Expedition, which began its journey from the
northern end of the island of Geyberg, reached this point on May 5,
1930 and discovered a note from Stephansson. It
was impossible to make a copy of it, since the message was in such a
bad condition that it was not subject to reading and collapsed
during the first attempt to deploy it. We
continue our journey to Cape Sverre on Amund Ringness Island”.
May 6, 1930
Age Rose Rose, G.K.E. Kruger, Chief of Acuoc.
Returning to the base, Thorsteinsson immediately wrote to
Stephensson about his find. He
replied: "In my opinion, you have dispelled the secret of the Kruger
On August 17, 1958, Torsteynsson landed on Cape Sverre and
thoroughly investigated the territory in search of Kruger’s tracks,
but did not find any evidence that he reached Amund Ringness Island.
Thorsteynsson made two assumptions about the fate of the Kruger
most likely he believed the version that all three researchers died
as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a snowy home
somewhere between the islands of Mien and Amund Ringnes. The
second assumption was that the Kruger expedition fell through thin
ice and sank.
Stefansson considered the version of carbon monoxide poisoning
the most likely.
In 1963, geologist K. Amold, engaged in field work on the island
of Mien, found two places that could be associated with the Kruger
first one is the traces of the camp in the northern part of the
island, the second is a small sandstone pyramid at the southern end
of the island. However,
inside the pyramid there was no message from Kruger, and nothing
directly connected the traces of the camp with him.
An island west
of the northwestern part of Ellesmere Island at the northern
entrance to the Nansen Strait. Named
in 1955 at the suggestion of J. Hattars.
the west Ellesmere
in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
The river on
the island of Mien.
Also, at the suggestion of Hattars, the Strait between
Ellesmere Island and Claybolt Peninsula and the bay in
the south-west of Mien Island is named after Biare. Theglacier
the island of Axel-Heiberg and a cape in
the eastern part of Biare Bay is named after Acuoka.
Name Stoluerti named the northernmost cape
of the island