Erich Haenisch (1880-1966)
The death on December 21, 1966, of Professor Erich Haenisch is a severe loss to Far Eastern and Altaic Studies, and has come as a grievous shock to his colleagues and friends. He was one of the representatives of the old generation of scholars in his field, whose numbers are decreasing rapidly. Haenisch combined an excellent knowledge of Chinese with that of Mongolian and Manchu, and made valuable contributions to studies in all three domains. He was a many-sided scholar and published numerous works on various subjects of Sinology, Manchu and Mongolian studies, and even Tibetology.
Haenisch’s works on Mongolian and Manchu are of particular value to the Altaicists. He was the first to devote his attention to what is called Sino-Mongolica, i.e., Mongolian texts in Chinese of the XIV Century which are of great importance to language study, not to mention their historical and literary value. Haenisch’s work on the Yüan-ch’ao pi-shih (text, dictionary, German translation, and an article on the linguistic features) and Hua-yi yi-yü belong to the most outstanding works in the field of Mongolian philology. Another group of Haenisch’s works is devoted to the historical work of Sagang Sechen and include his study of the Chinese version of that work, the transcription of the Manchu text and publication of two rare manuscripts and a xylograph of the same work.
Haenisch’s work on Manchu includes his excellent grammar and publication of historical texts and documents and polyglot inscriptions.
Haenisch’s great accomplishments in the field of Altaic studies were recognized by all Altaicists, and he became the second recipient, in 1964, of the Indiana University Prize for Altaic Studies, awarded by the PIAC.
In conclusion of this short obituary, let it be said that Haenisch was a very pleasant and friendly person much liked and held in high esteem by those who knew him.
(Source: Permanent International Altaistic Conference Newsletter No. 2, March 1967, p. 1)