Lerner  Theodore

(10.04.1866 - 12.05.1931)

German journalist and polar explorer.

He was born in Antweiler-on-Are, was physically strong, active, loved outdoor games. His father in 1870 took the post of mayor of the city of Linz on the Rhine, where his son attended primary school. The proximity of a large river developed a love for water in a boy. He made friends with the Rhine boatmen and, to the great disappointment of the teachers, spent considerable time on the Rhine, even swimming in the winter between the ice floes. One day, thanks to his strength and good swimming skills, he rescued a boy drowning in the Rhine.

After graduation, Lerner studied law in Würzburg, then continued his studies in Bonn, attending lectures in economics, medicine and law. He finished his studies without a degree, after which his father hired him as a volunteer at the Linz City Hall.

This gave him little pleasure, and he moved to Bremen to go to sea. He managed to visit England, Spain and South America. This was followed by military service in Bremen for a year, for several years he lived in the United States, first as a journalist, then as a dishwasher operator and bottle cleaner, and eventually as a representative of a brewery.

Lerner led several expeditions to Svalbard. In 1897 he was present at the start of the expedition of S. Andre in a balloon, in 1898 he participated in his search.

In 1898 and 1899  he visited Bear Island, intending to mine coal on the island in order to ultimately claim ownership of the island as a territory of the German Empire. This enterprise was unsuccessful, but gave it some fame.

In 1908  Lerner was part of the expedition of the Prince of Monaco and wintered with J. Johannsen in the cabin at Cape Bogeman in Svalbard.

At the beginning of World War I, Lerner was a deputy sergeant-officer Landwer in the trenches near Tula and Argonnerwald. In November of the same year, he was in the 81st Infantry Regiment at the front firing line in the Priestly Forest. For his great personal courage, he was promoted to lieutenant and company commander.

After the war, Lerner became a member of the Frankfurt military partnership and was politically close to the National Socialist German Workers Party, which he financially supported in 1924.

In 1926  Lerner, together with the Russian authorities, planned an expedition with Dornier flying boats, but during the preparation of the expedition he became seriously ill and abandoned the plan.

In total  Lerner made seven polar voyages.

Theodore Lerner died in Frankfurt, two days after the stroke. His grave is located in the main cemetery on the left side of the old main portal.

Islands in Lifdefjord (coordinates 79° 30'N    12° 30'E.) and the nearby glacier on the Land of Haakon VII, West Spitsbergen Island. The coordinates are 79° 32.8'N  12° 51.5'E.

Cape on the island of Abel, King Charles Land, Spitsbergen. The coordinates are 79° 06'N   30° 05'E.


Return to the main page