Max Hinsche

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Max Hinsche with the giant moose trophy

Max Hinsche (born May 2, 1896 in Radeberg ; † November 23, 1939 in Rottenmann , Styria ) was a German taxidermist , dermoplastic , big game hunter, trapper , scientist and writer .

On behalf of the "National Museums of Zoology and Ethnology Dresden" he went from 1926 to 1935 to a 9-year expedition in the then relatively unexplored areas of Canada ( Alberta and Yukon Territory ), to rare and previously unknown mammals and birds to gather and to prepare. He described his scientifically based reports and experiences in his book Canada Really Experienced (first edition by Verlag J. Neumann, Neudamm and Berlin 1938, with 30 art print panels and a map; unchanged reprint in 1940; new edition or reprint in 2 parts from 1988; new edition in one volume 2018).


Hinsche was the son of the wheelwright Wilhelm Hinsche (* 1872 Zörbig ; † 1946 Radeberg ) and his wife Agnes geb. Leuschner (* 1874 Steinölsa ; † 1909 Radeberg). He had three other siblings. After the mother's early death, the father had a second marriage with Ernestine Pauline Roitsch, nee. Neugebauer (* 1876 Strehlen; † 1965 Radeberg), who brought two children into the second marriage.

Max Hinsche 1914

From 1902 to 1910 Max Hinsche attended the Radeberg boys' school (today's Pestalozzischule Radeberg Oberschule ). His talent for scientific subjects was noticed at an early stage and, as a child, he was already intensively involved in collecting small creatures, birds and their eggs, a leisure activity that was popular at the time. He learned the craft of preparation in a playful way. Marked at an early stage by the reports about the gold rush in Canada and Alaska , he dreamed of visiting this country himself. His greatest wish was to learn the trade of a forester and hunter after leaving school, but his parents could not finance this training, he had to complete an apprenticeship as a sheet glass maker in Radeberg and became a master glassmaker at the age of 18.

In 1915 he was called up for military service in World War I , came as a grenadier to the “Royal Saxon 16th Infantry Regiment 182” , the so-called “Freibergers”, and experienced several skirmishes and battles on the western front that shaped his wider worldview. In August 1916 he was injured in the Battle of the Somme and released back home. After his recovery he went back to the job he had learned. In May 1919 he married Emma Frieda geb. Horst (* 1896; † 1979) from Bautzen . In December 1919 daughter Lieselotte († 1939) and in 1936 the second daughter Annegret was born.

In the course of his 9-year expedition to Canada, he developed a stomach ailment as a result of one-sided and at times also deficient nutrition, and the extreme, marginal physical stresses permanently drained his strength. These health problems led to a stomach rupture in November 1939 during a hunting trip in Styria, and any help came too late. In the hospital Rottenmann / Styria Max Hinsche died on November 23, 1939th


Early scientific work

Rossitten ornithological station around 1920

As a hobby and a sideline, he worked as a taxidermist and had first contacts with the State Museum of Animal Science in Dresden after the First World War .

Here he met the well-known ornithologist Paul Bernhardt (* February 5, 1886 Mittweida ; † May 29, 1952 Moritzburg ), with whom Max Hinsche remained in scientific contact throughout his life. Together they put themselves in the service of nature conservation and bird migration research and ringed hundreds of breeding , resting and guest bird populations in the greater Radeberg area (with the core zone of the Hüttertal ), at the Helgoland ornithological station and the Rossitten / East Prussia ornithological station .

In 1920, Hinsche and Bernhardt produced the bird of prey film "Feathered Robbers" in the region around Radeberg, especially in the Radeberger Hüttertal, on behalf of the Dresden film company A. Linke and the Landesvereines Sächsischer Heimatschutz . Another joint film was to be made in the bird area of ​​northern Dobruja , in the Danube Delta , but was no longer made by Hinsche, as he was already preparing for his Canada expedition at that time. The Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde Dresden had obtained the permits for Max Hinsche's expedition and for his mission, the collecting of mammals and birds, from the government agencies of Canada.

Expedition to Canada

Georg Naumann, Hinsche's partner

On May 26, 1926, he and his partner Georg Naumann (born Nov. 10, 1901 Radeberg; † June 6, 1978 Athabasca / Upper Wells) started the journey on the "RMS Empress of France" from Hamburg to Quebec , both almost destitute. Until September 1926 they worked on a farm in Headingly near Winnipeg / Manitoba in order to earn the necessary money for the equipment to survive in the jungles of Canada and to be able to continue their journey to the north of the Canadian province of Alberta , to Athabasca.

Athabasca / Alberta

At the beginning of October 1926 they ventured into the wilderness and drove about 220 km downstream on the Athabasca River further north, through the Pelican rapids, to the Pelican Portage area . Together they built their first log cabin and led a life as a trapper. Both lived from selling the skins, but separated after a year for economic reasons. At the same time, Max Hinsche collected and shot large game such as moose, bears, deer, lynxes, wolves, foxes and small mammals and birds, which were still unknown at the time, which he prepared as specimens for the Tierkundemuseum Dresden. In January 1931 he returned to Germany for a short vacation and received a gold medal for the preparation of a giant moose (Alces alces andersoni) at the German Hunting Exhibition in Berlin as part of the Green Week . Returned to Canada in June 1931, he continued to live alone as a trapper, big game hunter and gatherer on the Athabasca River until spring 1934 under the most extreme conditions. Encounters with the original inhabitants of today's Canada, the descendants of the Indian people of the Cree (especially the Plains Cree), are characterized by a deep humanity and helpfulness.

The first log cabin on the Athabasca River

Yukon Territory

At the end of March 1934 he set out to the northwest in the Yukon Territory to fulfill his long-planned dream: in this huge, as yet unexplored territory, where the mountains were and are in part still unnamed and the maps full of white spots, rare large game species to hunt and collect. Here he was demonstrably the first "white hunter". Near the terminus of the Kaskawulsh Glacier , at the confluence of the Kaskawulsh River with the Alsek River , he shot the only giant Alaskan brown bear ( Kodiak bear , Ursus arctos middendorffi ) ever seen in this area - which is still a sensation today . These bears are very rare on the mainland. The bear killed by Max Hinsche was 3 meters high and weighed 10 centners when erect. His prepared fur was only rediscovered and identified in March 2014 in what is now the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, Museum für Tierkunde , as it has since been assumed that it was one of the war losses.

In the mountains and the high mountain ice fields of the Yukon Territory, he also hunted rare mountain sheep, including Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) and mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), which only occur at heights of 3,000 to 5,000 meters, as well as Alaska elk ( Alces alces gigas) , caribou (Rangifer tarandus) or reindeer , brown bears (Ursus arctos) , including grizzlies (Ursus arctos horribilis) , as well as black bears (Ursus americanus) , beavers (Castor canadensis) . For almost a year he lived in the Yukon Territory, mostly as a nomad, only equipped with a simple tent, exposed to the unpredictable forces of nature in unimaginable cold outdoors at temperatures as low as minus 60 ° Celsius. During this time he undertook expeditions to the Kaskawulsh River, in the McArthur Montains almost to the Arctic Circle , to the Malaspina Glacier and the Kluane Lake . At the request of the Canadian authorities, Hinsche prepared an inventory of wild animals for the government in Whitehorse on the basis of his scientific observations and submitted proposals for necessary protective measures. A few years later a part of this huge area was declared a nature reserve, which was the basis for the Since 1976 Kluane National Park (Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada) .

Back in Germany

At the end of December 1934, his residency in Canada had expired. In February 1935 he traveled back to his hometown Radeberg in Germany and after 9 years of absence found a Nazi Germany. With the support of the state government of Saxony, the Dresden Zoo bought a large part of the valuable and rare collector's items from Canada. In the “entry books” of the Tierkundemuseum, over 130 specimens, trophies and bellows from the areas of mammalogy (mammals) and ornithology (ornithology) by Max Hinsche are still documented today . A large part of these exhibits, including extremely valuable and rare species (and, in the case of birds, usually put together in pairs), survived the Second World War through outsourcing and are still included in the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, Museum für Tierkunde.

As early as September 1935, Hinsche took refuge again in his longing for "being one and alone with nature". He escaped the grasp of the brown rulers, especially that of the notorious Gauleiter and Reich Governor Martin Mutschmann , who wanted to use him and his popularity as a so-called "hero" for his goals. Hinsche went to the remote “Rear Saxon Switzerland ”, the border area of Bohemian Switzerland , to Hinterdaubitz , as well as to the left Elbe area around Reinhardtsdorf as a hunting ground manager .

Romania / Transylvania

A year later, in 1936, Hinsche received an offer from an heir of the Renner department store in Dresden to work as his hunting ground manager in his hunting ground in the Romanian Carpathians / Transylvania . He took up this position in August 1936. This area with an area of about 30,000 hectares (300 square kilometers) and altitudes up to 2,200 meters above sea level was located in the part of the Transylvanian Alps south of Mühlbach ( circle Alba ), between Surian- or Miihlbacher mountains and Cindrel Mountains . He stayed here for over a year. During this time he traveled via Bucharest to the Black Sea in the bird paradise of the Dobruja , and he succeeded in collecting a collection of rare bird hides , including white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla), imperial eagles (Aquila heliaca), various species of vultures (Aegypiinae), great bustards ( Otis tarda), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and others.

During the Carpathian period he wrote on the manuscript of his book Canada Really Experienced, which was first published in 1938.

Return to Radeberg

In October 1937 he traveled back to Radeberg. In January 1938 he was honored by the Tierkundemuseum Dresden with a special exhibition of his most beautiful and valuable preparations, which have been highly recognized by the professional world. One of his friends, the Kleinwolmsdorfer manor owner Hans Fleischer (1892–1967), hired him as a game warden in his hunting ground in the Karswald and thus secured him a regular income alongside his work as a taxidermist . In Radeberg, Hinsche ran the business of an independent taxidermist and dermoplasticist on his property at Kleinwolmsdorfer Straße 7 and identified himself in his company publication as a “specialist in hunting trophies” with “25 years of experience at home and abroad”. In it he also gives instructions on how to preserve and treat trophies. After his return from Canada, Hinsche did a lot of publication work and extensive lectures in professional circles and public events.

His role model shaped generations. He instructed interested young people in the craft of preparation and the art of dermoplasty. One of them was the later equally famous entomologist Werner Heinz Muche (1911–1987) from Radeberg. Since Hinsche was not a good businessman, Muche later took over the sale of preparations to museums, institutes and universities, etc. a. also to the forestry college in Eberswalde and to the collection of Julius Riemer (1880–1959) in Wittenberg .


Rottenmann / Styria, Hinsche's final resting place

In 1939, Max Hinsche's health deteriorated, after the exhausting and deprivation years in Canada he always suffered from a stomach ailment. He ignored the advice of friends and family to undergo an urgent operation recommended by doctors and accepted an invitation from a hunting friend to work as a forester in Styria . He really wanted to shoot a bearded chamois that was still missing from his collection. In November 1939 he traveled to Rottenmann in Styria and from here climbed up into the mountains to hunt. He shot a bearded chamois, but the exhausting ascent led to a stomach rupture in the impassable mountain wilderness. Any help came too late, and he died at the age of 43 in Rottenmann Hospital. Here he found his final resting place in the Rottenmann cemetery.


Hinsche was one of the pioneers in exploring the areas of northern Alberta and the Yukon Territory. He is granted the privilege of being the first researcher and zoological collector on the Athabasca River and in the Yukon Territory to write down his experiences as a trapper, big game hunter and taxidermist, his observations and research results in his book Canada Really Experienced . Hinsche's original diaries with his daily notes from his time in Alberta and other written documents are stored in the archives of Klippenstein Castle in Radeberg.

Hinsche's self-made photo album from elk calf leather, 1931

His (privately owned) self-created extensive photo album and his collection contain a large number of recordings that document Hinsche's hard life and which, taking into account the z. Sometimes extreme living conditions from 1926 to 1934 in the far north of Canada are of remarkably good quality. Mammals and birds that are already extinct in Canada's forests today have also been preserved thanks to Hinsches' preparations, which are largely preserved in the best condition. His preparations can be found, for example, in the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, Museum für Tierkunde , in the Natural History Museum Leipzig , in Berlin, Basel, Rome, in the Julius Riemer Museum in Lutherstadt Wittenberg , in the Forestry College Eberswalde , in the Radeberger Museum Schloss Klippenstein and in the Radeberg Pestalozzi School. Hinsche's observations and analyzes of the behavior of wild wolves (Canis lupus) are also very informative for today's scientists. Especially for the investigation of the problem of the reintegration of wild wolves in inhabited cultural landscapes, Hinsche's findings are used by scientists at the University of Calgary in current scientific work.

Max-Hinsche-Ehrenhain in the Radeberger Hüttertal

After researching and popularizing his hitherto largely unknown life and work in 2014 by members of the Radeberg City History working group and a related book publication entitled "Dream of Canada - Dream of Freedom, The Life of Max Hinsche", Hinsche received an initiative from "Förderverein Hüttertal e. V. "the appreciation and honor with the establishment and inauguration of an honorary grove in the Hüttertal Radeberg, the" Max Hinsche grove ". This event, and with it Max Hinsche, has been recognized in numerous publications.



  • Klaus Schönfuß: Max Hinsche (1896–1939) - taxidermist, big game hunter, trapper, scientist, writer. In: Radeberger Blätter zur Stadtgeschichte. Volume 11, 2013; (Ed .: Large district town Radeberg in cooperation with the AG Stadtgeschichte).
  • Klaus Schönfuß: A Radeberger Legende - Max Hinsche (1896–1939) Continuation in 6 parts. In: “Die Radeberger” January 17 to April 4, 2014; Archive “die Radeberger”, edition 02/2014 to 13/2014 (PDF), accessed on December 5, 2017.
  • Renate and Klaus Schönfuß: Dream of Canada - Dream of Freedom, The Life of Max Hinsche. Self-published by the author; 1st and 2nd edition 2014, 3rd edition 2019. With many z. Some historical images and original recordings by Max Hinsche and partner Georg Naumann as well as maps ( ).
  • Bernd Lichtenberger: Radeberger catching birds in wild Canada. in: Dresdner Latest News . Issued June 3, 2013.
  • Karin Rodig: laudation for an exceptional Radeberger. in: Wochenkurier , edition 23 April 2014.
  • Renate Schönfuß-Krause and Klaus Schönfuß: A Radeberger Legend - Max Hinsche (1896–1939). Taxidermist, big game hunter, trapper, scientist, writer. In: Museum der Westlausitz Kamenz (Hrsg.): Between Großer Röder and Kleiner Spree - history nature landscape. Issue 9. 2016, ISBN 978-3-910018-75-4 .

Web links

Commons : Max Hinsche  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Max Hinsche: Really experienced Canada . Verlag J. Neumann, Neudamm and Berlin, Berlin 1938, OCLC 35791084 (with 30 art print panels and a map).
  2. a b Max Hinsche: Canada really experienced reprint . Part 1: Athabasca period . Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen 1988, ISBN 3-7888-0542-0 .
  3. Max Hinsche: Canada really experienced reprint . Part 2: Yukon time . Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen 1989, ISBN 3-7888-0543-9 .
  4. Max Hinsche: Really experienced Canada . New edition in one volume. Neumann-Neudamm GmbH, Melsungen 2018, ISBN 978-3-7888-1864-7 .
  5. ^ Paul Bernhardt: Experiences of a Saxon in Canada . In: Erwin Jäger (ed.): Central German monthly books (Sächsische Heimat) . Volume 10. Verlag Oscar Laube, Dresden 1927, OCLC 183379933 .
  6. ^ Paul Bernhardt: Experiences and observations with birds of prey ringing . In: Rud. Zimmermann (Ed.): Communications from the Association of Saxon Ornithologists . tape 3 (1930-1932) . Self-published by the association, Dresden.
  7. Film "Feathered Robbers"; A. Linke, Dresden 1920; Federal Archives, Berlin Film Archive Department. Retrieved January 3, 2015 .
  8. ^ Robert Reichert: Museum for Animal Science . In: Dresden scientific museums / contributions to the 750th anniversary of our city . Theodor Steinkopff publishing house, Dresden / Leipzig 1956.
  9. Bernd Lichtenberger: Radeberger is causing a sensation in Canada. In: Dresdner Latest News . April 7, 2014.
  10. Editorial article: Max Hinsche speaks in Radeberg . In: Radeberger Zeitung . April 6, 1935.
  11. Prof. em. Valerius Geist, University oy Calgary, Canada: Can large carnivores be kept in an inhabited cultural landscape? Retrieved on January 5, 2015 (In: Contributions to hunting and game research, Volume 39. 2014).
  12. Prof. em. Valerius Geist, University oy Calgary, Canada: Origin of the myth of harmless wolves (Engl.). Archived from the original on May 7, 2013 ; accessed on May 10, 2013 (German title: The emergence of the myth of the harmless wolf; ).
  13. Prof. em. Valerius Geist, University oy Calgary, Canada: When Do Wolves Become Dangerous to Humans? (engl.). (PDF) Retrieved January 5, 2015 (German title: When do wolves become dangerous for humans? ).
  14. Renate and Klaus Schönfuß: Dream of Canada - Dream of Freedom, The Life of Max Hinsche . Self-published by the author, Radeberg 2014 ( - With many partly historical images and original photos by Max Hinsche and partner Georg Naumann as well as maps).
  15. Max-Hinsche-Ehrenhain at the Hüttermühle Radeberg. Förderverein Hüttertal e. V., accessed January 5, 2015 .
  16. Karin Rodig: In the Hüttertal now a plaque commemorates Max Hinsche. Retrieved January 10, 2015 (In: Wochenkurier, edition July 18, 2014).
  17. Bernd Lichtenberger: Hinsche memorial plaque in the Hüttertal: Memory of the trapper born in Radeberg. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 16, 2015 ; Retrieved on January 10, 2015 (In: Dresdner Latest News , July 14, 2014 edition). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. Bernd Goldammer: Radeberg's adventurer legend Max Hinsche back in the Hüttertal. In: Saxon newspaper . July 14, 2014.
  19. Jens Fritsche: His hometown is 30 kilometers long. In: Saxon newspaper . 22nd November 2014.
  20. Bernd Goldammer: How Radeberg got a trapper. In: Saxon newspaper . April 12, 2014.