Emil Krebs

"Ein Sprachgenie im Dienste der Diplomatie"

This new version on the life and work of the multilingual Emil Krebs in the series "Fremdsprachen in Geschichte und Gegenwart" (Foreign Languages in History and the Present) published by Harrassowitz Verlag Wiesbaden contains information that was not yet known at the time of publication of "Emil Krebs. Kurier des Geistes" was not yet known. The preparation and citation of the data sources provide a detailed and comprehensive insight into the events and environment of the Silesian diplomat Krebs at the time. Additional publications that have only now been researched and extensive information on his unique library give an idea of his extraordinary linguistic genius. An approximately 200-page documentation of correspondence between Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach and Emil Krebs reveals information that was previously unknown and could not be extracted from Krebs' personal file. Travel accounts lead to a historical China.

Publisher: Harrassowitz Verlag; Auflage: 1 (12. April 2017)
Series: Fremdsprachen in Geschichte und Gegenwart
N0.: 018
Pages/size: 224 Pages; 24,00 x 17,00 cm
Language: German
Binding: Paperback
Publication date: 12.04.2017
ISBN: 978-3-447-10740-2
Shop: https://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/title_1565.ahtml


Review by Wolfgang Look, Consulate General Amsterdam

„InternAA“ Edition 11 / November 2017, Staff newspaper of the Federal Foreign Office

With every language learned, it is said, a person is born anew. So too does the linguistic wonder Emil Krebs experience a worthy renaissance in an extensive book by his relative Eckhard Hoffmann. The knowledgeable and critically commented presentation of his long-standing work, primarily as an interpreter at the embassy in China, is filled with admiration and is done using original source material: personal letters, academic writings, internal documents from the personnel department, expressive photos from the time, and more. The opus is a treat for bibliophiles and offers deep insights behind the scenes of that time. It emphasizes that Emil Krebs did not limit himself to linguistic encyclopedism but also wrote political and cultural texts. The reader immerses themselves in the adventurous and glorious spirit of the imperial era and learns with Emil Krebs to see the world through the eyes of China and other peoples. Emil Krebs notes that other peoples must not only be perceived as objects but also possess a long-standing independence, understanding of which is an important prerequisite for long-term peace. He mastered over 60 languages and learned them under sometimes curious circumstances, which are retold anecdotally and contain not only language teaching tips but also a plea for today: Learn languages and thereby see the world with young, fresh, and flexible eyes in polyglot polyphony!


Review by Dr. Hartmut Walravens, Berlin (published by Verlag Traugott Bautz, 37412 Herzberg, received from Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden)

Wikipedia: Dr. Walravens

Polyglots were often the subject of fascination. Mastery of 4-6 languages is not so rare today, but when it comes to speaking and writing and not just conversation is required, but really in-depth mastery of these languages, the picture changes. It is indeed sensational when someone speaks twenty, thirty or forty languages and is able to learn another language in six weeks. The average citizen, who can barely distinguish between two languages and is proud of his Denglish, is astonished. ...

Read the whole German review here.


Review by Rolf-Harald Wippich (published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (OAG))

OAG information regarding Rolf-Harald Wippich

The following is about someone who was already considered a real language prodigy during his lifetime and who apparently had an innate disposition for learning foreign languages. We are referring to Emil Krebs (1867-1930), a native of Lower Silesia, who achieved philological merits beyond the German-speaking borders, above all as a long-standing interpreter at the Imperial Legation in Peking and in the colonial administration of Kiautschou (1893-1917). ...

Read the whole german review here: OAG notice 12.2018


Emil Krebs. śląski poliglota

by Eckhard Hoffmann, tłumaczenie (translation) Sobiesław Nowotney

Wydawca (Verlag): Kubara Lamina S.A.
Język (Sprache): polski (polnisch)
Publikacja (Veröffentlichung): 2017
ISBN: 9978-83-948918-0-0

You can now read the complete version of the above-mentioned book in Polish at the following link:


Emil Krebs: Kurier des Geistes

by Peter Hahn

The publication "Emil Krebs Kurier des Geistes" provides information about the life and work of the polyglot Emil Krebs. It is the result of a close collaboration between the Language Service of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and his great-nephew Eckhard Hoffmann. Several authors, as well as Emil Krebs himself, supplement the core topic with their own essays on diplomacy, language, historical background and brain research. The then State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office and later Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations in New York, Dr. Harald Braun, paid tribute to Emil Krebs by writing a foreword. The following is a review from the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" of 19.03.2012 by Hans Jochen Pretsch

This German book can be obtained from an author's remaining stock via the great nephew Eckhard Hoffmann within Germany at a special price of 10.00 EURO (incl. shipping costs). It is unread, but no longer in its original packaging. Order via emhoffmann@gmx.de

Publisher: Oase; Auflage: 1 (3. November 2011)
Language: German
Pages/Size: 264 Pages; 11,3 x 18,3 cm
Binding: Paperback
Published: 03.11.2011
ISBN: 978-3-889-22097-4


Emil Krebs comics (Comic)

by Melinda Kovács-Mosbacher

polski deutsch


Sprachkontakte und interlinguale Kommunikation

by Renata Nadobnik / Vladislava Warditz (Hrsg.)

The present anthology comprises contributions that stem from the international conference 'Language Contact and Interlingual Communication: German, Polish, and other Languages.' The conference took place from December 3 to 4, 2021, at the Jacob von Paradies Academy in Gorzów Wielkopolski. The event is a new project initiated and organized by the Jacob von Paradies Academy in Gorzów Wielkopolski (Poland) in cooperation with the University of Potsdam (Germany) and Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria). Researchers from fifteen scientific centers in Germany, Kosovo, Austria, Poland, and Russia participated.


Publisher: Dr. Kovac Hamburg
Serie: Schriften zur Vergleichenden Sprachwissenschaftlern
Volumn: 39
Language: Deutsch und Englisch
Pages: 238
Binding: Paperback
Published: 12.2022
ISBN: 978-3-339-13316-8



As part of the Emil Krebs exhibition at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin (2020), the 'Federal Association of Polish Teachers' presented the special edition 'Emil Krebs and Multilingualism in Europe.' This special volume, featuring essays in both German and Polish by eminent linguists from Germany and Poland, provides information on languages in general as well as current and historical events.



How did he learn languages?

Companion booklet for the exhibition at the Brandenburg State Parliament. Provided by KoKoPol (Competence and Coordination Center for Polish, IBS St. Marienthal/Saxony. Ed. Dr. Klara Jagrova, Leipzig. Content and text by Eckhard Hoffmann, Potsdam.

This companion booklet provides information on the possibilities of autonomous language learning up until the beginning of the previous century, using the example of the polyglot Emil Krebs.

E.Krebs Broschüre.pdf