German Expeditions to Brazil 1935-1937 / Deutsche Expeditionen nach Brasilien 1935-1937

Amapa State

In the mid 1930’s, a German expedition, led by German Otto Schulz-Kampfhenkel, entered the Jari River with the supposed purpose of realize a scientific research. The German expedition was supported by President Getulio Vargas, a Nazi sympathizer, and happened at a time when Hitler was expanding the dominions in Europe, including France.

Entering the Jari River, the Germans were aimed at the recognition of the border area of ​​Guyana and of the French overseas territory. In the epoch, France was Germany’s historical enemy, because the French troops had humiliated the Germans during the process of surrender of the First World War in 1918.

They arrived in Belém, capital of Pará state, in 1935. From there, the germans boarded the ship Colonel José Julio, that took them to St. Anthony’s waterfalls, in the amazonic region of the state of Amapa. Following the river, advancing deep in the forest, they established their camp at a place known as waterfall Macaquara.

To assist in the operation and make less unconfortable the stay in a hostile environment, full of snakes, predators, mosquitoes and other agents of tropical diseases, were recruited indigenous of Aparai tribe and – even – around of 30 woodsmen, experient jungle guides. Otto had a servant even to install his sleep hammock (for sleep).

In addition to Otto, two of them came from Germany and Gerd Kahle, Gerhard Krause. The fourth team member, Joseph Greiner, though German, was a auslandsdeutscher (a German educated abroad), and – because he spoke a good Portuguese, was recruited in Brazil.

The Germans came equipped: they had a seaplane model “Seekadett” which was called “Aquamarine” among other features. And they did not forgot the personal comfort, including in the baggage, camel hair blankets and other items of bed.

Despite the support of natives, the forest environment, very treacherous, transformed the mission truly, in a hell.

The first and the most painful loss was the seaplane that clashed with submerged trees in the river.

Otto and his two companions reached to the Jari region in 1936. Later, while they were mapping the course of the Jary river, the boat suffered an serious accident. Finally, Grainer, victimized by a fever, died.

Otto Schulz-Kampfhenkel and his assistants returned to Europe in 1937 taking hundreds of boxes containing furs, skulls, bones, teeth, feathers and bodies preserved in alcohol, materials destinated to the museums of natural sciences in Germany.

Left among the natives Apari a pregnant woman, the daugther of the indigenous chief (cacique) Aocapotu, who gave birth to a white girl with blue eyes that became known as “Cessé”.

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