Our colleague Dr. Horst Friedrich has died

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Berlin · 2015  Uwe Topper topper

On december 25th, 2015, our venerated colleague and friend, Dr. Horst Friedrich, died after a short period of illness, at the age of 84 years in the hospital of Landsberg (Bavaria) near his home.

Instead of an obituary, an article of hommage which appeared in 2010 in the USA, shall serve for the moment.

FriedrichHorst Friedrich, a Pioneer of modern Diffusionism

This Hommage to Dr. Friedrich was written by Uwe Topper on August 13th, 2010, and published in: Midwestern Epigraphic Journal 22-3, 2008-9 (Columbus, Ohio, USA).

History of Science could be understood in different ways. The 19th century German philologists mainly based their knowledge on litterary grounds. Studying at Munich Technical University means a much more practical approach to History of Science, and this determined the decades of research of Horst Friedrich after he obtained his doctorgrade there in 1974. The achievements of late Renaissance and barock inventions and discoveries were the theme of his thesis.
Born in 1931 in Breslau (Silesia, then Germany), Friedrich belongs to the lost generation as the few survivers are called since WW II. This may have been a reason for the late start of his academic education, and as well may have fostered his everlasting sceptical stand-up against the pretension of those institutions boasting to have eaten the truth with spoons. Questioning the claims of academic dogma became the guide of Friedrich’s research.

The first book of Friedrich I came across short after getting in contact with him was »Velikovsky, Spanuth, and the Sea Peoples Discussion: Arguments for a Migration of Atlanto-European Late Bronze Age Megalithic Peoples towards 700 B.C. to the Mediterranean« which in its title already pours out the thesis and the background of this basic work. It appeared as bilingual German-English issue in 1988, a revised edition was published 1990 and got a good reception even with academicians, but more so with all those who vigorously pushed forward the ideas of Thor Heyerdahl and other diffusionists like Pierre Honoré or Jürgen Spanuth.

In 1986 he joined the group of writers around Jacques Touchet of the review »Mediterranea«, issued in French from Carcassonne (France), with an article about the Greek letters of Tell el-Yahudia. He remained one of the prolific writers of this and other periodicals such as the more recent English language quarterly »Migration and Diffussion« edited by Mme. Christine Pellech from Vienna (Austria). Many of his conclusions and new proposals were taken up by those working on similar fields like the group around Velikovskyan chronologists led in Germany by Christoph Marx and later by Heinsohn and Illig. More recently he contributed to the four language website of Ilya Topper »newchronology.eu«. For some time he belonged to the more wide range »Efodon« society where he operated as the editorial master mind during the first years of their German review »Synesis« edited from the Bavarian region around Munich where Friedrich lives. Most valuable were his references to rarely known researchers such as Dayton (1972) or Rogowski (1973).
Better known to the English reading public are the numerous articles by Friedrich in the »Midwestern Epigraphic Journal« or in »The Ancient American« thus creating a bridge between the foremost American studies in this field with the more traditional German publications making each side known to the other. It is by this way that we got aquainted with hitherto unknown discoveries like Barry Fell’s reading of stone inscriptions or the enigmatic finds in Burrows Cave.
And this may be stressed as the most important item of concern to Friedrich: Getting into contact and proposing contacts between the various researchers who worked lonely in the field but needed a broader view. Friedrich did not at first hand criticize a thesis that was strange or not yet founded but opened up the mind to grasp the idea and follow the hint.

After this short introduction concerning the activities of Friedrich I would like to give some insight into his special theories and hypothesis he propagated for so many years.
Quoting from his writings I shall give an idea of how he proposed what real science should be and possibly could achieve. Friedrich rejected bluntly all kind of scientific dogma. He called it Scholasticism, and more particularly here: Neo-Scholasticism, as a horror in itself for all earnestly searching erudites.
He says (1990, p. 47 s):
»It is the method of Neo-Scholasticism to view the world through the filter of the paradigmata, conglomerations of academic doctrine, accepted as valid for a certain time. These can – self-evidently – only be arrived at by a selective view of phenomena. Neo-Scholasticism is mistaking science, as it were, for a cupboard with drawers, which have been lettered long ago, wherein rests more or less fixed ‘knowledge’. There one abhors de facto the underlying unity of all science and interdisciplinary research, and would therefore rather – instead of releasing the ‘drawer’ thought patterns in an individual effort – create additional difficulties “for the evolution of knowledge by obstructing the circulation of ideas”, as De Finetti writes in a pertinent article. True science will again and again question the paradigmata so dear to Neo-Scholasticism and try to arrive at a better approximation to truth.«

In the same manner he had an article published in NEARA (New England Antiquities Research Association, vol. xxviii 1993) titled “Sectarianism versus comprehensiveness” where he explains comprehensiveness “as the key to progress in our age.” On the other hand, doctrinary science has now taken its course and is visibly overwhelmed by arteriosclerotic tendencies. By laying open those facts that modern science is all but progressive and needs a complete reformation, Friedrich hopes to get academic work back to normal and voluntary truth finding.
To this effect he wrote a book in German with a title that would translate as: Forcing a way to New Science (Efodon 1996). He states, that pseudoscientific and ideological school-science is a hinderance to progress in search of the truth. Slogans like ‘positvistic’ or the so-called ‘exact sciences’ are only used as ritual to impress laic audiences while in reality no such certainty exists. Science and its proposals have to remain open to discussion, to scepticism, and possibly to rejection as well.
In the same book he introduces the German reader to Burrows Cave (pp. 101-115) quoting his article in NEARA: »Atlanto-Iberian Civilization and Ancient America« (vol. xxix, 1994).

Another of his ever recurring themes is catastrophism which a few decades ago was so terribly outlawed from universities in Europe that a strong mind and a good deal of patience was necessary until only recently it could be put on the agenda by the establishment (and still is regarded as a somewhat awkward sideway).
The title of his important book to this effect is »Erdkatastrophen und Menschheitsentwicklung« (Efodon 1998) which would read: »Geological catastrophies and the development of mankind«. It deals with the human traumatic experience of bygone cosmic catastrophies that destroyed our ecology and most civilization with it. In this respect he shares the opinion of a great number of German side-stream researchers standing in the succession of Velikovsky as well as Hanns Hörbiger. Friedrich never neglected the enormous impact Hörbiger’s Glacial Cosmogony made on the unobliged reader of the 1920s and influenced all later catastrophism including that of Velikovsky. By this way Friedrich drew attention to other catastrophists scarcely known to the German public such as James Churchward and Alfred de Grazia.
One of the outstanding results of his unswerving search is the conviction that the dogma of ice age is the great error of the century: »Jahrhundert-Irrtum Eiszeit« (Efodon 1997). Following Christoph Sandberg (1937 and 1940) and other more recent geologists like Ingo Schaefer (1995) he rejects the interpretation given by academicians in general : that thick layers of ice should have covered Northern Europa (and other parts of the world) during hundreds of thousands of years and thus formed the landscape we now live in. The phenomena could much more reasonably be explained by big floods rolling over in short periods, or by cosmic debries as for instance deposits like eskers and drumlins which might originate from the tail of a comet. Modern researchers like Milton Syzman have taken on the idea and developped it further.

»A diffusionist view in the genesis of civilizations« such is the heading of one of Friedrichs articles (in: Migration and Diffusion 2/2000, pp. 6-14) giving an outlook on one of his most cheerished items: the distribution of similar cultures all around the world. The paradigm of isolation seems to him rather suspect. The probability of autochthonous origins of civilizations that have so much in common is beyond serious acceptability. Diffusionist tendencies are the pattern of understanding the genesis of cultures. Thus he starts his article with a quotation from Heyerdahl’s famous and basic work »Early Man and the Ocean« which in its time impressed all of us by its scientific strictness and logic. It is definitely easier for early man to cross big seas – the ocean, any ocean – than to get across huge landmasses overgrown with thick forests, and peopled by greedy populations. Sea faring ancient groups like the Phenicians or the Polynesians were involved in distributing cultural gadgets like plants and tools, art forms and architectural know-how. Even the extraordinary unique civilization of ancient Egypt cannot really be imagined without strong injections from outside. The civilization of Upper Egypt was open to the Red Sea (not to the Mediterranean) and by this way received its many influences from its neighbours around the Indian Ocean, Friedrich explains with good arguments.
He moreover draws our attention to the neglected seafaring nations of South East Asia, especially Cambodia and Indonesia. Their maritime trade must have been marvellous compared to nowadays, and their cultural interchange has left its traces in many an architectural structure. The evolution of island civilizations such as Bali through multiple maritime contacts is rather the norm and not an exception in pre-history, he writes. So »we will have to consider very seriously the possibility, even probability, that perhaps the first European discoverers of the Renaissance arrived in the Americas in a very special ‘time slot’, without finding ships from India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Oman, Morocco, or West Africa moored on the American coasts.« Sentences like this one are able to move a brain and awaken new ideas. And they are consistent with the general idea proposed by all of us catastrophists: The ‘special time slot’ must have been caused by a recent jolt of the earth that inhibited other nations for a while and favoured those on the Atlantic coast of Europe. This could well have been the case for our own civilization at the time of the Atlanto-European Megalithic culture.

»West-East or East-West? Reflections on the elusive origins of mettallurgy« is one of the latest articles published by Friedrich (in: Migration and Diffusion 4/2003, pp. 6-27). Here he tackles the so far unsolved problem of the origin of metal casting and alloying. »We should concentrate on urgently needed additional research in this field«, he says in the beginning. He discusses favourably John Daytons findings as well as Jürgen Spanuths theories stressing that in accordance with the distribution of metal ores in Europe their proposals are not to be put aside: the often quoted phrase of ‘Ex oriente lux’ makes no sense in this respect. Other authors discussed are Meier & Zschweigert (1997) as well as my own contributions to the field (»Giants« 1977 and »horra« 2003, here p. 20). This general attitude of being open to widely differing scenarios is the strength of this steadfast pioneer, Dr. Friedrich, who »is a great advocate of scolarly multiplicity, of the parallel existance of diverging opinions and paradigmata« as he depicts himself (p.21).

Uwe Topper, Berlin 2010

See also the contribution of Friedrich:

Friedrich, Horst (2001): Did some Worldwide Great Natural Catastrophe Befall Our Planet as late as sometime during the Renaissance?, in: Midwestern Epigraphic Journal (MEJ), 15, pp. 119-122

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