Bernhard Villinger

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Bernhard Villinger (* 13. December 1889 in Mannheim ; † 12. February 1967 in Freiburg ) was a German doctor , able politician , climbers , skiers , film producer , director , manager , Writer , Actor and Arctic explorer .



He was the son of the Roman Catholic businessman Adolf Villinger (1854–1915) and his wife Wilhelmine (1859–1940), née Rogg, the daughter of a beer brewer from Lenzkirch . Both ran a respected household goods store in Mannheim. Bernhard Villinger had four siblings.

In 1918 he married the doctor's daughter Martha (1895–1981), née Haerle, from Schramberg in Freudenstadt . From this marriage two daughters were born.

School and study

Between 1895 and 1908 he attended elementary school and the humanistic grand ducal high school in Mannheim , where he passed the final examination. Then he did his military service as a one-year volunteer with the Royal Bavarian 2nd Infantry Regiment "Crown Prince" stationed in Munich at Oberwiesenfeld until 1909 . From 1910 to 1914 Villinger studied medicine at the Albrecht Ludwigs University in Freiburg im Breisgau , where he received his doctorate under Carl Noeggerath in 1919 after the First World War .

Sporting commitment

Even as a student, Villinger was one of the members of the Academic Ski Club Freiburg im Breisgau , founded by members of the Freiburg FC , and was elected to the board of directors. He had become enthusiastic about skiing out of joy in sporty experiments and a thirst for adventure, also out of aversion to hitting student associations. Until about 1914 Villinger was successful several times at the International Ski Championships on Holmenkollen near Kristiania . Together with Odo Deodatus I. Tauern , he founded a local branch of the Black Forest Ski Club on the Feldberg in the Black Forest in autumn 1922 .

Further development

When it became known in the spring of 1912 that Roald Amundsen had been the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911 , Villinger decided to take part in an expedition to the Arctic . In the summer of 1913, the 24-year-old Villinger joined the two Freiburgers Sepp Allgeier and Rudolf Biehler (German Nordic Combined Champion 1909) and Gerhard Graetz (1890–1977) from Schweinfurt from the polar explorer Theodor Lerner, who lived in Frankfurt am Main initiated and led auxiliary expedition to find Herbert Schröder-Stranz's missing expedition on Spitzbergen . They undertook two 60-day expeditions with sled dogs from their ship Løvenskiold to find out where they were wanted, ultimately without result. As a medical candidate, Villinger appeared to be suitable for providing more than just first aid. The expedition's goal failed, but Villinger took over the direction of the documentary film The Tragedy of the Schröder-Stranz Expedition , which was made together with the 18-year-old Allgeier .

During the First World War , Villinger was employed as a medical candidate, initially as a field doctor, later as an assistant doctor. He was initially active in the 2nd field hospital of the XIV. Army Corps , from June 1915 with the 4th Baden Infantry Regiment "Prince Wilhelm" No. 112 in Champagne and with the infantry regiments 470 and 363 that were set up during the course of the war he had been given leave of absence from the Western Front to prepare for the state examination he had passed in January 1916 . In November 1918 he was released from military service as senior physician in the reserve. He has received several awards for his services, including the silver medal on ribbon, the Karl Friedrich Military Merit Medal , the Cross of the Order of the Zähringer Lion, the Military Karl Friedrich Order of Merit and the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Zähringer Lion .

After the war, Villinger worked as a general practitioner in Schramberg between 1919 and 1921 . He got back in touch with his circle of friends through the ski hut, the Grüblehütte am Feldberg , run by the Freiburg Academic Ski Club . As a skier, he acted as an actor in Arnold Fanck's film The Wonder of the Snowshoe (1919/1920), in which his friend Allgeier mastered the camera. Villinger also took part as a skier in its second part, A Fox Hunt on Skis through the Engadine (1921/22). In addition to Allgeier, Villinger was the one who, thanks to considerable physical strength, could intervene to save someone if someone fell into the rope.

Letterhead with picture stamp of Berg- und Sport-Film GmbH , 1920s

In 1921 Villinger joined the Berg- und Sport-Film GmbH film production company, which had been newly founded in Freiburg with Arnold Fanck, on the initiative of Odo Deodatus I. Tauern the previous year . The hyperinflation continued these activities to a premature end. Villinger stayed true to skiing and the mountains, giving lectures on his expeditions and mountain tours.

From March to October 1926, Villinger was involved in an Arctic expedition to Spitzbergen and Greenland on behalf of UFA , in which Sepp Allgeier, Richard Angst and Albert Benitz also took part as cameramen, as did May Bellinghausen's brother Harry. The resulting silent film Milak, the Greenland Hunter, which premiered in Berlin's Mozart Hall in 1928 , was directed by Villinger together with Georgi Asagarow . While filming on Svalbard one of the actors, the painter Waldemar Coste , fell ill with appendicitis . Villinger operated on him twice under the most primitive circumstances and saved his life.

From 1927 to 1932 Villinger was a member of the international research council of the Aeroarctic - International Study Society for Exploring the Arctic by Airship, founded in 1924, based in Berlin. During this time he attended a congress on meteorology and physics at the Central Geophysical Observatory in Leningrad in 1929.

In 1931, under the direction of the Australian Hubert Wilkins and the Norwegian Harald Ulrik Sverdrup , Villinger participated as a doctor and scientist in the highly publicized Nautilus expedition to the North Pole , which was only partially successful due to technical problems. Villinger's job on board the submarine was to take physical gravity measurements.

From 1933 Villinger was established in Freiburg im Breisgau as a general practitioner and obstetrician at Schwarzwaldstrasse 4 and also ran a production of chemotherapeutic preparations at Starkenstrasse 15. However, setting up a practice at this time proved to be difficult, so he tried to to obtain permission to examine the young men to be drafted into the Reich Labor Service . To get a chance to do so, he joined the NSDAP .

From 1936 to 1944 he was President of Freiburg FC . The 50-year-old Villinger was disappointed when he was not called up by the Wehrmacht in 1940 on the occasion of the Weser Exercise company in order to be able to contribute his expertise for Norway. It was not until the last months of the Second World War that he was drafted as a doctor for the Volkssturm in Alsace .

After his denazification by the South Baden Spruchkammer, he resumed his practice, and his two daughters, who had also studied medicine, were soon able to help him. In the Medical Association of South Baden, he was committed to providing old-age security for his class colleagues.

From 1957 to 1963 he was President of the Baden-Württemberg Medical Association . In 1959 he was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit and was elected to the Executive Board of the German Medical Association. The German Medical Association honored Villinger in 1965 with the Paracelsus Medal .

In the mid-1960s, Villinger suffered from an intestinal disease that led to colon cancer. He died at the age of 77.


  • Contribution to the casuistry of scarlet fever in early infancy based on a case of scarlet fever in a 3 1/2 month old child . Inaugural dissertation. Freiburg 1919.
  • as publisher: Masters of the snowshoe - their life, their training, their successes (= foreign country - foreign people. Volume 2). A. Marquardt, Heilbronn 1928.
  • The Arctic is calling. With dog sled and camera through Svalbard and Greenland . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1929.
  • with Henry C. Stetson: Scientific results of the Nautilus Expedition 1931 under the command of Capt. Sir Hubert Wilkins . Institute of technology, Cambridge (Mass.) 1933.


  • 1913: The tragedy of the Schröder-Stranz expedition (director)
  • 1919/20: The miracle of the snowshoe (actor)
  • 1921/22: The wonder of the snowshoe , part 2 A fox hunt on skis through the Engadine (actor)
  • 1922: Pömperli's fight with the snowshoe (actor)
  • 1922: The German Fighting Games in 1922 (production manager)
  • 1923: The Heart of Man (director)
  • 1926/27: Milak, the Greenland Hunter (screenplay, director)


  • around 1913: Chairman of the Academic Ski Club Freiburg im Breisgau
  • 1936–1944: Chairman of the Freiburg FC
  • 1956–1963: President of the Baden-Württemberg State Medical Association
  • from 1959: Member of the executive board of the German Medical Association



  • Academic Ski Club, Freiburg im Breisgau
  • Research Council of the Aeroarctic - Internationale Studiengesellschaft, Berlin
  • State Medical Association of Baden-Württemberg


  • Otto Beckmann: Sports lexicon from A – Z. Beckmann, Leipzig 1933.
  • Frieder Uihlein: The ASC-ler Bernhard Villinger. Club archive of the Academic Ski Club Freiburg, no year.
  • Klaus W. Hosemann: Dr. Bernhard Villinger. In: Freiburg Almanac. 1993, pp. 123-132.
  • Corinna Müller: Early modern cinematography. Formal, economic and cultural developments 1907–1912. Metzler, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-476-01256-5 .
  • Marion D. Williams: Submarines under ice. The US Navy's polar operations. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis (Md.) 1998, ISBN 1-55750-943-3 (English).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Manfred-G. Haderer: The eternal ice of the Arctic was his goal . In: Badische Zeitung . December 12, 2009, on:
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Renate Liessem-Breinlinger: Villinger, Bernhard. In: Bernd Ottnad (Hrsg.): Baden-Württembergische Biographien . Volume 2. On behalf of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies Baden-Württemberg. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-17-014117-1 , pp. 465-466.
  3. a b c d e f g h i Villinger, Bernhard , on:
  4. a b c d 100 years of the Freiburg Academic Ski Club . In: Black Forest Snow Flurry. No. 2/2003, November 2003, pp. 8-10.
  5. Brigitte von Savigny: Mountains, snow and golden boys - The Black Forest Ski Museum in Hinterzarten. In: DAGS magazine. Issue 1, March 2009. ISSN  1613-5121 , p. 26.
  6. ^ Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, Irina Renz (ed.): 1918 - The Germans between World War and Revolution . Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86153-990-2 , p. 287.
  7. Frank Berger (Ed.): Theodor Lerner: Polarfahrer - Im Banne der Arktis . Oesch Verlag, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-0350-2014-0 , pp. 237, 311-312.
  8. Otto Abs : An encounter with Dr. Bernhard Villinger on Spitzbergen . In: Polarforschung 1962, Vols. 30-34, 1-2, 14, pp. 160-162. (PDF file; 582 kB)
  9. ^ The tragedy of the Schröder-Strantz expedition , on:
  10. General State Archives Karlsruhe Entry in 233 No. 42754, Badisches Staatsministerium, Archivischer Identifikator 4-3750842, Personal files Villinger, Bernhard, geb. December 13, 1889.
  11. The miracle of the snowshoe. on:
  12. The miracle of the snowshoe, part 2 , on:
  13. The Kinematograph No. 742 of May 8, 1921, o.p.
  14. Vera Bern: The gentlemen of the BSF In: The cinematograph. No. 726 of January 16, 1921, no p.
  15. ^ Arnold Fanck , on:
  16. Bernhard Villnger: Masters of the snowshoe - their life, their training, their successes . A. Marquardt, Heilbronn 1928, pp. 73-90.
  17. Milak, the Greenland Hunter. on:
  18. Bernhard Villinger: The Arctic is calling: With dog sled and camera through Spitzbergen and Greenland . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1929, p. 151 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  19. Hans-Peter Kosack: The polar research . Vieweg + Teubner Verlag, Wiesbaden 1967, p. 399.
  20. Stewart B. Nelson: Sabotage in the Arctic - Fate of the Submarine Nautilus . Xlibris, Bloomington, IN, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4653-3209-7 , pp. 77, 113, 116, 131, 145, 159, 164, 175.
  21. Official population register of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau for 1936 , II, p. 345.
  22. Club history , on:
  23. Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Staatsarchiv Freiburg, signature D 180/2 No. 49624, archival identifier 5-452099.
  24. a b Speech by Honorary President Dr. Schareck on the 50th anniversary of BÄK SB . In: The District Medical Association of South Baden introduces itself. (PDF file; 15 MB), p. 39, on:
  25. a b Bearer of the Paracelsus Medal. on:
  26. ^ Bernhard Villinger , on:
  27. Club history , on: