Publications and essays by Emil Krebs

The following texts were translated with (free version)

Obituaries and references from contemporary witnesses (e.g. Prof. Eduard Erkes and Prof. Ferdinand Lessing) regret that apart from "Chinesische Schattenspiele" no further publications by Emil Krebs are known. However, it is hoped that his estate may still contain some of his writings. The extensive research from 2005 onwards was also successful in this respect. The help provided by Ms. Yianan Yan in 2016 deserves special mention here and we would like to thank her expressly. Ms. Yan from the Beijing Foreign Language University spent several months in Germany to write a master's thesis on Emil Krebs and found further publications by Emil Krebs as part of her research in the German State Library in Berlin.

The following are the publications and essays by Polyglott Krebs discovered up to 2016 and briefly outlined in terms of content:


Copies of Publications or Essays:

About Learning Chinese
Legation Councillor Emil Krebs

Reprint from Issue 1 and 2 of the China-Archive III. Year (1918).

Since my return from China, I have noticed the zeal with which the study of Turkish is often pursued in Germany after Turkey sided with us in the war. Since this phenomenon undoubtedly stems from the desire and hope of one day finding a better future in the country or in connection with our Turkish ally with the help of the linguistic knowledge gained, it randomly made me wonder how it could be that of the many Germans who have found their way in China for years, only so few show the same zeal for learning the Chinese language.

I will probably be told that Chinese is too difficult. Some people will also say that it is not necessary to know Chinese to get ahead in China, pointing out that many Germans have achieved prestige and prosperity in China without having a clue about the Chinese language. Third parties will cite this and other reasons in the delusion that so-called pijin English is the means of communication between Chinese and foreigners. Well, perhaps I'll leave the question of whether studying Chinese is necessary or at least useful for someone who is forced to live in China for a while. In this chat, I would just like to try to show, based on my two decades of experience, that Chinese is not a daunting difficulty, but rather that even the linguistically only normally gifted person can achieve a useful ability in it if he only applies the necessary diligence, and at the same time give some practical hints about the course of study.

Here is the complete publication.

Read the full translated publication here.

Book Reviews

Publications "The New Orient" Volume III 1920

Cultural and Intellectual Life in the Orient
Dr. Eduard Erkes. Chinese, Number 30 of the Cell Library, 1920 Dürr & Weber
m. b. H., Leipzig

Unfortunately, the short space available for this review does not allow us to go into detail about some of the controversial aspects of this work. There is no doubt that Chinese culture has an infinite number of sympathetic traits compared to European culture, and it is regrettable that some of these are already beginning to be eroded under the influence of the West and that the old Chinese way is also in danger of gradually succumbing to characterless internationalism. But that everything in China is beautiful and superior to our views and institutions, as the author portrays it, is an exaggeration, which is probably explained by the fact that his personal knowledge of the country is based on a visit of only a few weeks in Beijing. The extremely unjust judgment of the Protestant missions must not go unchallenged, especially since the author makes no exception in favour of the German missionaries.

Signed: E. Krebs


Pastures of the Mongols in the Realm of Chalcha.
By Hermann Cousten. Volume II, Dietrich Reimers (Ernst Vohsen), Berlin 1920.

The book is rich in gripping descriptions of personal experiences in a politically turbulent time in Mongolia after the outbreak of the Chinese Revolution, as well as interesting descriptions of Mongolian customs and traditions. The information on the political conditions in Outer Mongolia at that time and its relations with Russia deserve special attention. Unfortunately, the scientific value of the book is considerably diminished by the fact that the Mongolian, Chinese and Tibetan names and words have been written down by the author, who is obviously unfamiliar with these languages, either by ear or using a Russian transliteration. If one does not know according to which principles the Russians, for example, render Chinese words with Russian letters, one ends up, like the author, naming a silver tael lan instead of the correct liang. The book would have gained in value if the manuscript had been reviewed by an expert with regard to these foreign names and words before going to press. On the other hand, the numerous good photographs included in the work are extremely valuable.

Signed: E. Krebs


The Story of the Robber and the Lord Judge.
Edited and translated by Sebastian Beck. Heidelberg, Julius Groos, 1920

Under the above title, the fourth booklet of Turkish writings from the "Collection of Beneficial Writings to Promote the Study of Islamic Languages," edited by Sebastian Beck, has just been published. It deals with a popular narrative, whereas the preceding booklets contained fairy tales. If the editor, in his "Foreword," presents as the guiding thought guiding him in the publication, to provide students of Islamic languages with reliable and stimulating reading material, through the reading of which not only the vocabulary of the reader, but also especially his knowledge of realities in every direction, is expanded, then the previously published booklets already hint at what a rich resource the collection will offer. It would be a pity if the current unfavorable conditions in the printing industry were to hinder the progress of this useful collection. Such meticulously and conscientiously crafted Turkish reading material has never been offered before; one might almost be tempted to say that the transcription and vocabulary list are overly meticulously prepared, and the effort expended on them does not correspond adequately to the benefit offered. In any case, the transcription, vocabulary list, numerous linguistic and factual annotations, and constant references to the paragraphs of Turkish grammar by Jehlitschka are so meticulously and extensively worked out that even learners who would not otherwise dare to study a foreign language without a teacher could easily dispense with other help when studying Beck's booklets.

Signed: E. Krebs


Publications "The New Orient" Volume VII 1920
Cultural and Intellectual Life in the Orient

Theodor Kluge, Dr.-Ing., Dr. phil.: Georgian-German Dictionary. 1st Installment. Leipzig 1919. Commissioned by: Otto Harrassowitz; Leipzig.

The need for a Georgian-German dictionary is perhaps not very great. It is hardly conceivable that the small circle of those who seriously engage with Georgian includes individuals who do not possess sufficient knowledge of Russian to make use of the Russian aids available for the study of Georgian. Nevertheless, it would certainly be welcomed if, from the existing material, a Georgian-German dictionary were to be developed that meets the standards of our current knowledge of the language. A mere translation of the Russian part of the Georgian-Russian dictionary by Tschubinow would not suffice unless the numerous errors contained therein were also corrected. However, based on the first installment, the work by Kluge cannot even claim to be a usable translation of Tschubinow. Even if all the translations contained within were correct, it would still be criticized for the lack of attention to other important and common meanings, especially in the translation of verbs, where only the first listed Russian verbs are translated into German, while others are omitted. The superficiality of the work is also evident, for example, on page 33 c, where the error in bunebit'i g'eog'rag'ia, present in the same place in Tschubinow, is simply replicated without the correct g'eog'rag'ia being corrected.

The few examples provided, which cast doubt on the author's competence, may justify the judgment that, assuming the subsequent installments correspond to the present first one, linguistics has not gained any useful enrichment from the work and would not suffer any loss if the unfortunate times were to postpone or even prevent its completion, especially considering that the comprehensive German-Georgian and Georgian-German dictionary announced by R. Meckelein in "The New Orient" Volume 5, Issue 3/4, Page 136, is nearing completion.

Signerd E. Krebs


China's internal and external policy
Lecture evening of the Beirat für Auslandsstudien d. Univ. Berlin (24 pages), according to Mande Krebs

Publications:" Der Neue Orient" 1923 issues 3 and 4, Berlin State Library
Researched by Ms. Jianan Yan, Beijing 12.2015

China's internal and external policy
by E. Krebs.

For years, the news we have been receiving from East Asia has been reporting such bleak and confused political conditions in China that it seems to the distant observer the distant observer as if there were any prospect of the reunification of the great empire, which is currently torn into several pieces no longer exists. Are the prospects really that desperate? Is the pessimistic view that prevails in our country perhaps not rather that the distant observer applies the standard of European European conditions and thought processes?

When assessing the current political situation in China - in the following we will only refer to only China proper, including the three Manchurian provinces, and not the foreign countries provinces, not also the foreign countries such as Mongolia and Tibet, which were were part of the Chinese empire in normal times, but were administratively but administratively occupied a more or less independent special position - There are two things to bear in mind here: Firstly, today's conditions in China are by no means in China are by no means something new and unprecedented; on the contrary, in the course of its thousands of years of history, the country has repeatedly gone through much worse times of turmoil, sometimes of very long duration, and yet it has not and yet it has not perished as a result. This is how the patient Chinese of today also sees in the tribulations of the present a phenomenon, albeit deplorable, but only temporary, which will one day be replaced by better conditions in the reunited fatherland.

Here you can find the whole translated publication.