Lorenz Peter Elfred Freuchen (February 2, 1886 – September 2, 1957) was a Danish explorer, author, journalist and anthropologist. He is notable for his role in Arctic exploration, especially the Thule Expeditions.
January 22, 2014
"Peter Freuchen, six foot seven, lived inside the cave of his breath. "
"That's Peter Freuchen and his wife Dagmar Freuchen-Gale, in a photo taken by Irving Penn. Freuchen is a top candidate for the Most Interesting Man in the World.
Standing six feet seven inches, Freuchen was an arctic explorer, journalist, author, and anthropologist. He participated in several arctic journeys (including a 1000-mile dogsled trip across Greenland), starred in an Oscar-winning film, wrote more than a dozen books (novels and nonfiction, including his Famous Book of the Eskimos), had a peg leg (he lost his leg to frostbite in 1926; he amputated his gangrenous toes himself), was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis before escaping to Sweden, studied to be a doctor at university, his first wife was Inuit and his second was a Danish margarine heiress, became friends with Jean Harlow and Mae West, once escaped from a blizzard shelter by cutting his way out of it with a knife fashioned from his own feces, and, last but certainly not least, won $64,000 on The $64,000 Question. -- Kottke, Peter Freuchen
It was so cold that even inside his cabin, even with the small coal stove, the moisture in his breath condensed into ice on the walls and ceiling. He kept breathing. The house got smaller and smaller. Early on, he wrote, two men could not pass without brushing elbows. Eventually after he was alone and the coal—“the one factor that had kept the house from growing in upon me”—was gone, he threw out the stove to make more room inside. (He still had a spirit lamp for light and boiling water.) Before winter and his task ended and relief came, he was living inside an ice cave made of his own breath that hardly left him room to stretch out to sleep. Peter Freuchen, six foot seven, lived inside the cave of his breath. In the Borderlands: The Danish-Jewish explorer Peter Freuchen was...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 22, 2014 4:53 AM
The Remarkable Life of Peter Freuchen
— February 20, 2014 —
To mark the birthday of intrepid arctic explorer Peter Freuchen, AnOther delves into the past of this formidable and fascinating man
Who? In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6'7" frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen – a deeper look reveals his staggering biography.
What? Freuchen was a Danish arctic explorer, anthropologist, actor and author. After studying to be a doctor at university, Freuchen participated in several arctic explorations, the first being in 1906 when he was only 20, in which, after sailing as far north as possible, a further 7,000 miles were travelled via dogsled. It was here that Freuchen discovered Inuit culture, and for over two generations he lived, hunted and travelled with the Inuit. In 1911, Freuchen married his first wife, an Inuit woman called Navarana Mequpaluk. Navarana bore him two children, a boy named Mequsaq Avataq Igimaqssusuktoranguapaluk and a girl called Pipaluk Jette Tukuminguaq Kasaluk Palika Hager. When she died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1921, the local Christian church refused to allow her burial, and so Freuchen buried her himself.
"In 1956, Freuchen answered the $64,000 question of the American TV-show The $64,000 Question"
Freuchen wrote over 30 books, most famously the Book of the Eskimos, published posthumously in 1961. An autobiographical work, it described the Inuit culture Freuchen had lived within, and detailed how, in 1926, he lost a leg to frostbite, amputating several gangrenous toes himself. Off the back of his literary success, Freuchen became the head of a film company specialising in Arctic-related scripts. In 1933, he starred as the villainous character in the film Eskimo, which went on to win an Oscar.
In the 1920s Freuchen returned to Denmark and joined the Social Democrats. During the Second World War he was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, aiding refugees from the Nazis. Himself a Jew, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis but escaped to Sweden.
Why? In 1924, Freuchen married Magdalene Vang Lauridsen, a margarine heiress, but their 20 year marriage collapsed in 1944. A year later, he met Dagmar Cohn. Cohn was a fashion illustrator, whose work made it onto the April 1947 cover of Vogue, introducing Christian Dior. As if his life couldn’t be more surprising, in 1956, Freuchen answered the $64,000 question of the American TV-show The $64,000 Question. The next year he was awarded the Gold Medal of the International Benjamin Franklin Society for his “service to mankind in opening new frontiers.” He lived with Cohn until he died of a heart attack in 1957.
That's Peter Freuchen and his wife Dagmar Freuchen-Gale, in a photo taken by Irving Penn. Freuchen is a top candidate for the Most Interesting Man in the World. Standing six feet seven inches, Freuchen was an arctic explorer, journalist, author, and anthropologist. He participated in several arctic journeys (including a 1000-mile dogsled trip across Greenland), starred in an Oscar-winning film, wrote more than a dozen books (novels and nonfiction, including his Famous Book of the Eskimos), had a peg leg (he lost his leg to frostbite in 1926; he amputated his gangrenous toes himself), was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis before escaping to Sweden, studied to be a doctor at university, his first wife was Inuit and his second was a Danish margarine heiress, became friends with Jean Harlow and Mae West, once escaped from a blizzard shelter by cutting his way out of it with a knife fashioned from his own feces, and, last but certainly not least, won $64,000 on The $64,000 Question. An anecdote about Freuchen, courtesy of Rebecca Solnit (via Frank Chimero):
It was so cold that even inside his cabin, even with the small coal stove, the moisture in his breath condensed into ice on the walls and ceiling. He kept breathing. The house got smaller and smaller. Early on, he wrote, two men could not pass without brushing elbows. Eventually after he was alone and the coal -- "the one factor that had kept the house from growing in upon me" -- was gone, he threw out the stove to make more room inside. (He still had a spirit lamp for light and boiling water.) Before winter and his task ended and relief came, he was living inside an ice cave made of his own breath that hardly left him room to stretch out to sleep. Peter Freuchen, six foot seven, lived inside the cave of his breath.
I mean, come on! His third wife, Dagmar Freuchen-Gale, was no slouch either. She was a teacher, artist, editor, expert on world cuisine, and a top fashion illustrator. Here's a cover she illustrated for Vogue in 1947:
Lorenc Peter Elfred Freuchen was a 6’7” tall walrus-spearing, peg-legged, anti-Semite-clobbering Danish explorer and badass old-school 1900s explorer who wore a fucking awesome coat made of polar bear fur, rocked a seriously epic beard, rode a dogsled 1,000 kilometers across the Greenland ice cap in the 1910s, killed a wolf with his bare hands, escaped a Nazi death warrant at the height of the Third Reich, amputated his own fucking gangrenous toes with a pair of pliers (and no anesthesia), and starred in a goddamned Oscar-winning movie – which was based on a book that he wrote. And this guy was so over-the-top awesome that he played the fucking villain in a movie that was loosely based around his own autobiography. He was also the fifth person to win the jackpot in the TV game show The $64,000 Question, published thirty books, founded two Adventurer’s Clubs, and his biography is called The Vagrant Viking.
Need more proof? Check this shit. One time he was caught in a blizzard and ended up being buried alive in an inescapable cocoon of ice so tightly packed around him that he could barely move. After 30 hours trapped in a frosty tomb the size of a large suitcase this behemoth Dane escaped certain death by molding his own shit into a fucking knife and using it to carve through a solid wall of ice, then crawled another three hours back to base camp like something out of The Revenant meets Everest meets goddamn Shawshank Redemption.
Oh, yeah, and he looks like this:
Freuchen with his third wife.
His coat is made from the fur of a polar bear that he killed himself.
Peter Freuchen was born in Denmark in February 1886 (his birthday was exactly 130 years ago last Tuesday). He studied to be a doctor at some pretty swanky Danish schools, but order and structure and living indoors in the civilized world like a fucking chump wasn’t what Freuchen was put on this earth to do, and after getting in trouble quite a bit in school (he wrote in his awesomely-titled autobiography The Vagrant Viking something along the lines that “the first victims of my hunter’s instincts were my early instructors”) Freuchen peaced out and said fuck people, I’m going to go explore the damn wilderness. He signed on with every Polar expedition he could, and became obsessed with exploring the uncharted wilderness of Greenland and the North Pole. In 1906, at the age of 20, he and his buddy Knud Rasmussen sailed as far north as they possibly could, then got out of the ship and traveled 600 miles across the frozen wastes of Greenland on a damn dogsled just to see what was out there. They met the Inuit, who were awesome, traded with the natives, learned the language, and then went on badass co-op hunting expeditions to spear walruses, whales, wolves, seals, polar bears, and other insane things.
That looks pretty cold.
Freuchen also went on sea-and-land expeditions to places like South Africa, Siberia, and a few other inhospitable wastelands where no person should ever be able to survive (ok, maybe South Africa isn’t that bad, but they do have hella Great Whites and that shit freaks me out), but Freuchen’s heart was in Greenland. So in 1910 he returned, went as far north as he could bear, and then set up a trading station where he could live among the Inuit. He named his two-person town Thule, after Ultima Thule, which was a marking used in medieval cartography to denote anywhere that was beyond the borders of the known world.
This is an aerial photograph of Thule today:
In Thule the daily mean temperature this time of the year is twelve degrees below zero. Negative-twelve. Fahrenheit. As an average daily temperature. And we are talking 1910, when you didn’t have windbreaker jackets and wetsuits and Gore-tek thermal shit. This motherfucker was wearing furs, leather, and wool to keep warm. That’s it. At one point, his cabin was so could that his breath was turning to ice and lining the inside of the cabin. After he burned through all of his coal, the got smaller and smaller from all the condensation until it was so cramped that he could barely stand up.
Freuchen lived here for like the next decade, learning fluent Inuit and accidentally becoming basically the world’s first and foremost expert on the native peoples of Greenland. He married an Inuit woman and had two children, who were given the alphebet-heavy names of Mequsaq Avataq Igimaqssusuktoranguapaluk and Pipaluk Jette Tukuminguaq Kasaluk Palika Hager. Freuchen’s grandson would become the first person of Inuit descent to be elected to the Canadian Parliament. Today Thule is home to a friggin’ United States Air Force base. They have aircraft, fighters, and radar listening posts, and it’s home to the 12th Space Warning Squadron, which I think is either something designed to provide early-warning detection against either Russkie ICBMs and/or Cylon Basestars.
Freuchen and his wife in the 1910s.
She joined him on many of his early expeditions.
Thule served as the home base for seven expeditions between 1912 and 1933. The First Expedition, in 1912, involved crossing a thousand kilometers across Greenland just to prove to Commodore Peary that the North Pole wasn’t separated from Greenland by a river. Both Freuchen and Rasmussen almost died on the trip, but they became national heroes overnight for their accomplishment.
Freuchen’s first wife died of the Spanish Flu in 1921, and he returned home to Denmark for a while. He began writing for a newspaper called Politiken (it’s still around today), and began working on the first of the nearly 30 books he would publish in his career as a bestselling author. Most of his works were focused on Inuit culture and badass man shit like killing bears and surviving in a climate where your piss can practically freeze mid-stream, but he also wrote about the oceans, sailing, and put out some cool hardcore “dude kills everyone in a fit of vengeance” fiction stories like the ones you see in those old awesome 1920s pulp magazines.
In 1924, Freuchen married a friggin multi-millionaire, who was the heiress to a huge fortune because her folks ran the most successful margarine business in Denmark (I’m not making this up). Her parents liked Freuchen so much that when they founded a new magazine in 1925, they made Freuchen the editor-in-chief. The magazine is still in circulation today – it’s the longest-running magazine in Danish history.
But don’t go thinking Freuchen was going soft just because he was a millionaire best-selling uthor who lived in a massive estate on his own private island (even though that totally did happen). He kept making trips back north and going on badass expeditions, including the one in 1926 that I referenced in the poop story earlier.
Basically, Freuchen was exploring the Northern reaches of Greenland when he got caught out in a hardcore insane blizzard storm:
He took cover beneath a dog sled, but the snow and ice overtook him and he was trapped. The ice was so tight against him that his beard froze to the ice, meaning that if he wanted to turn his head he had to fucking yank a piece of his beard out. After 30 hours of trying to claw and punch his way to safety, Freuchen ingeniously and hilariously chiseled through the wall of ice with a fucking shank he fashioned from his own shit, crawled three hours back to base, took off his socks, saw his fucking toes had gangrene, and then amputated his toes with a pair of pliers and a hammer.
When he got back to safety he had his leg amputated.
He had a peg leg for the rest of his life.
This did not stop him from going back to Greenland. A lot.
One of Freuchen’ books about the Inuit was turned into a movie in 1933. Telling the tale of a fictional Inuit warrior’s adventures in the Arctic, the film’s dialogue was entirely in Inuit with English subtitles. Freuchen wrote the story, translated the dialogue, was an interpreter on the set, helped the film crew survive on set, and played the movie’s villain. It won an Academy Award, which is awesome, even if the Oscar was for “Best Film Editing” which really isn’t something that Freuchen was actually involved with at all whatsoever. Either way, an awesome side note is that during the premier of Eskimo, Freuchen apparently picked up Nazi director Leni Reifenstahl (Hitler’s favorite director, btw), held her over his head, and spun around in a circle, laughing his ass off. She did not enjoy this. He couldn’t even use the excuse that he was wasted at the time, because Peter Freuchen never drank.
Freuchen founded “The Adventurer’s Club” in Denmark in 1938, a cool place for cool dudes to sit around and smoke cigars by a fireplace in an awesome wood-paneled room with animal heads on the walls. But unfortunately Denmark was having some Nazi problems around this time, which pissed off Freuchen quite a bit. According to what I’ve read, any time someone would say some anti-Semite shit around him, Freuchen would stand up to his full height, walk right up to the dude, and intimidatingly say something along the lines of, “I’m Jewish. What are you gonna do about it?”
When the Germans took over Denmark, Freuchen was part of the Danish Resistance. He hid refugees, subverted Nazi operations, and pissed off Hitler so hard that the Germans arrested him and sentenced him to death.
Freuchen escaped, fled to Sweden, and continued undermining the Nazis. Because if an icy coffin isn’t going to kill him, the Nazis weren’t either.
In 1945 Freuchen moved to New York City and married his third wife (the one pictured above), Dagmar Cohn. Dagmar was a fashion illustrator who worked with Vogue, and the pair settled down in NYC to wait out the rest of the war. Nearly 60 years old by now, Freuchen joined the New York Explorer’s Club, another cool hangout spot, and today they have a big painting of him mounted on the wall between the taxidermied heads of exotic African wildlife. Freuchen became friends with Mae West, bench-pressed Jean Harlow at a party once, and in 1956 he became only the fifth person to win The $64,000 Question (they asked him about the Seven Seas… big mistake).
Peter Freuchen died of a heart attack in 1957, just three days after completing his final book. He was 71 years old.
His ashes were scattered over Thule, Greenland.
Peter Freuchen, born Lorenz Peter Elfred Freuchen (Feb. 2, 1886 – Sep. 2, 1957) was a Danish explorer, anthropologist, cartographer, zoologist, author and journalist. He wrote several scientific papers and numerous popular science books, novels and autobiographical works, primarily focusing on the Arctic Thule region, native culture, and scientific exploration.
He was born in Nykøbing Falster, Denmark. His father was Lorentz Benzon Freuchen (1859-1927) of Danish Jewish descent, and his mother was Anne Petrine Frederikke Rasmussen (1862-1945).
Peter Freuchen was Great Uncle to Arctic Thule expedition organizer, Dr. Peter Skafte. Freuchen made a distinct impression upon his nephew, telling arctic tales to young Skafte while putting out cigarettes on his wooden leg (having lost a leg to frostbite in 1926).
Freuchen married three times. First, in 1911, to Navarana Mequpaluk (d. 1921), an Inuit woman who died in the Spanish Flu epidemic after bearing two children (a boy named Mequsaq Avataq Igimaqssusuktoranguapaluk (1916-c.1962) and a girl named Pipaluk Jette Tukuminguaq Kasaluk Palika Hager (1918-1999). His second marriage, in 1924, to Magdalene Vang Lauridsen (1881-1960) was dissolved in 1944. Lastly, in 1945, he married Dagmar Cohn (b.1907).
His Danish island estate was named Enehoje, but Freuchen spent many years in Thule, Greenland, exploring and living with the Polar Inuit people, and working with Knud Rasmussen, who crossed the Greenland icecap with him.
At age 20, Peter Freuchen went on the 1906-08 “Danmark Expedition” (named after the expedition ship “Danmark”) to Northeast Greenland. The expedition ship sailed as far north as possible, established a base, and then traveled by dogsled further north along the coast, mapping the region. The purpose of the expedition was to explore and map the northernmost East Greenland. Extensive studies were made using dog sleds, traveling a total of more than 6,500 km (4,039 mi), which up to that time was a record distance for Arctic expeditions.
In 1910, Freuchen & Rasmussen established the Thule Trading Station at Cape York (Uummannaq), Greenland. The name Thule was chosen because it was the most northerly trading post in the world, literally the “Ultima Thule” at that point in time.
Thule Trading Station became the home base for a series of seven expeditions, known as the Thule Expeditions, between 1912 and 1933. Freuchen served as store manager in “Cape York Station Thule ” for 10 years.
The First Thule Expedition (1912, Rasmussen and Freuchen) aimed to test Robert Peary’s claim that a channel divided Peary Land from Greenland. They proved this was not the case in a remarkable 1,000-km journey across the inland ice that almost killed them. Clements Markham, president of the Royal Geographic Society, called the journey the “finest ever performed by dogs.”
Freuchen wrote over 30 books including personal accounts of this journeys in Vagrant Viking (1953) and I Sailed with Rasmussen (1958), and Freuchen and Rasmussen held a series of lectures in Denmark about their expeditions and the Inuit culture. Other published titles from Freuchen included Adventures in the Arctic, Arctic Adventure: My Life in the Frozen North, Book of the Eskimos, Ice Floes and Flaming Water, Ivalu the Eskimo Wife, and Book of the Seven Seas.
Freuchen’s first wife, Mekupaluk, who took the name Navarana, followed him on several expeditions. When she died he wanted her buried in the old church graveyard in Upernavik. The church refused to perform the burial, because Navarana was not baptized, so Freuchen buried Navarana himself . Freuchen strongly criticized the Christian church which missioned among the inuits without understanding their culture and traditions.
When Freuchen returned to Denmark in the 1920′s he joined the Social democrats and contributed with articles in the newspaper Politiken.
Freuchen later became the leader of a movie company, returning to Greenland in 1932 on an expedition financed by the American Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studios. For over 20 years he was employed by the movie industry as a consultant and scriptwriter, specializing in Arctic-related scripts, most notably MGM’s 1933 Oscar winning Eskimo/Mala The Magnificent starring Ray Mala.
In 1933, Knud Rasmussen used the character name Navarana (Freuchen’s deceased wife’s name) for the lead role in the movie Palos Brudefærd, which was filmed in East Greenland.
In 1935, Freuchen visited South Africa, and by the end of the decade, he had also traveled to Siberia. In 1938 he founded The Adventurer’s Club (Eventyrernes Klub), which still exists.
During World War II, Freuchen was actively involved with the Danish resistance movement against the Germans, even without one leg which he lost to frostbite in 1926. He was imprisoned by the Germans during the war, and sentenced to death, but he managed to escape and flee to Sweden.
Freuchen later moved to the USA where he and his wife Dagmar, a fashion illustrator, lived in New York City, and maintained a second home in Noank, Connecticut. In 1956, Freuchen won $64,000 on The $64,000 Question, an American TV quiz-show on the subject “The Seven Seas”.
The preface of Freuchen’s last work, Book of the Seven Seas, is dated August 30, 1957, in Noank. He died of a heart attack three days later in Elmendorf, Alaska. After his death, Freuchen’s ashes were scattered on the famous table-shaped Thule Mountain in Greenland.
Freuchen’s memory was later honoured by the planting of an oak tree and creating an Eskimo cairn near the place, where he’d left Denmark for Greenland back in 1906. It is located East of Langeliniebroen in Central Copenhagen and not far from the statue of The Little Mermaid.
Peter Freuchen, a Resurrected Viking, is a Danish Jew by Birth
Imagine a man eight feet tall, weighing close to 330 pounds, with a head like a grizzly bear’s and a thick, square red beard, with a booming voice too savage for his twinkling gray-blue eyes and shrewd nose; a man who lumbers through New York’s Winter streets hatless and coatless…. and you have pictured to yourself Peter Freuchen, the Danish explorer, trader among the Eskimos, formerly Resident Governor of Phule Colony, Greenland; international lecturer and author. This man, who epitomizes everything we associate with the Vikings, is a Jew, perhaps the most unique Jew alive.
His fame is but recent. Despite a lifetime of exploration and adventure among the Eskimos in the Arctic, Captain Freuchen was for long known chiefly to explorers, adventurers, scientists, anthropologists and others interested in Arctic study. Then he came to America for a brief lecture engagement and managed to arouse interest in his book, “Eskimo,” which had already appeared in several foreign languages. The book was translated and published, but did not create a stir. Although a novel, it was considered too ethnographical for popular consumption. And then some Hollywood genius awoke with the inspiration to do a motion picture about the Eskimos. Freuchen’s book was bought, and he was sent with the MGM expedition to Alaska, where the picture was to be filmed.
BECOMES AN ACTOR
Up to this time Freuchen had no idea he was an actor. But after he had chosen genuine Eskimos for various roles, he could not find an actor who would look like the trader in his book so he played the villain’s role himself! His all-around achievement is motion picture history.
A queer, unconventional man is Freuchen, as I discovered to my discomfiture when I met him here in New York. I was making arrangements to collaborate with him in his English writings (a partnership which has proven signally profitable and pleasant since). We were at the time walking through a miniature blizzard on Sixth avenue, when he suddenly turned to me, roared a few choice cuss-words at the Germans, and said half his income was gone because his books were banned there.
“Your books?” I asked, astonished.
“What then?” he shot back, towering over me like a snow-man. “I’m a Yehudi.”
That was the first inkling I had, that we were racial brothers. At subsequent meetings he told me, piece-meal, something about himself.
HEEDS ADVENTURE’S CALL
Growing up in Denmark he might never have known he was a Jew had it not been for his mother. Certainly his father was not typically Jewishâ€”all his life a seaman and South American merchant, whose comings and goings were great events in Peter’s life. The boy stuck to school until he was almost through college, anxious to obey his mother and become a lawyer or a good business man. But adventure beckoned. One morning his mother found his bed unslept in. He had run off during the night, become a sailor, and shipped to Greenland on a whaler. Already a giant, Peter held his own with men twice his age, and learned to hurl the harpoon unerringly, to trim sail in a storm, and to laugh in the teeth of death.
Returning home after going as meteorologist on the Mylius Ericsen expedition among the smaller Arctic islands, Peter found his father waiting for him. The old man was stern and emphatic. He wanted his son to resume his studies. So Peter went back to college to study medicine, hoping thus to be sent among the Eskimos, whose way of life intrigued him, but who needed hygienic instruction. Alas, he proved such a bad medical student that his dean politely advised his parents to turn their son’s ambitions in another direction. This was all the incentive Peter needed. He jumped his bonds again, and sailed for London, where he undertook the study of surveying, having read in books of exploration how vitally necessary surveyors were in trackless lands.
GOES WITH RASMUSSEN
In 1910 Peter justified his choice of a career. He was chosen to go together with Knud Rasmussen up to the extreme north of Greenland, there to found the station of Thule. It was from there that Peary had left the year before to discover the North Pole, and the two Danish explorers found that Peary had already done much to improve the conditions of the aborigines.
Freuchen, who is a gifted linguist and speaks almost every European tongue including English, had no trouble learning the Eskimo dialect; and soon he was looked upon as an “anagok,” a medicine man in touch with the divine spirits, so that his influence over the natives was great. Recognizing this, the Danish government appointed him Resident Governor of Thule Colony in 1913, a post he held for seven years. During the years of the World War the sea blockade prevented ships from coming up, and Freuchen had to resort to the ways of the Eskimos for survival, since he could get no supplies. Across the Greenland ice cape, and to distant Ellesmereland he went, foraging for food. Hunting, fishing, traveling with the ever-happy Eskimos, he discovered a new philosophy of life that went far beyond the white man’s in providing a life of contentment.
Until 1924 Freuchen continued to accompany Rasmussen on expeditions into the remote north of Canada, learned all the Eskimo dialects, learned to love them.
WEDS ESKIMO GIRL
He married a Canadian Eskimo girl, Navaranna, who bore him two children, who are both living in the farthest north because their father assured them they were far happier as Eskimos than they would be as whites. Freuchen’s wife is dead, but he still speaks of her with glowing affection.
Captain Freuchen is just fifty years old, but is amazingly naive. When he first met the wife of his friend, Rockwell Kent, she exclaimed: “What a wonderful beard!”
“You like it?” and he cut off a great piece and gave it to her.
In 1928 he gave up his various interests, including his extensive farm in Denmark, to lend his lore and experience to the search for Raoul Amundsen, who was lost in the Nobile flight beyond Arctic Russia.
ARRESTED IN GERMANY
Between 1924 and the present day Captain Freuchen has lectured around the world on the subject he knows best: the Eskimo
We saw him off on the ship bound for Denmark, not so very long ago. He was returning to his second wife and his farm for a while.
Three weeks later I learned by cable that he had been temporarily arrested in Germany, his manuscripts and papers confiscated, his journey interrupted as he was passing across from home to the Balkans on a lecture engagement. His cable ended:
“Thank God I have found some people who care that I am a Jew!”