23 January 1919|
Vienna, Austria
|Died||16 June 2013(aged 94)|
Hans Hass (23 January 1919 – 16 June 2013) was an Austrian diving pioneer known mainly for being among the first scientists to popularize coral reefs, stingrays and sharks through his filmed documentaries, pioneering research/development of the aqualung and of a make of rebreather, his energon theory, and his commitment to the protection of the environment.
Hass was born in Vienna; his father was an attorney and Hass initially pursued law. However, Hass' encounter with he American diver Guy Gilpatric while on vacation in Matura trip of 1938 to the Riviera, which included underwater hunting and photography, had a formative effect on him. After making expeditions to the Caribbean Sea 1938/39 and writing his first professional articles, in 1940 Hass switched from reading law to zoology studies and graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1943. His thesis was the first scientific research using an autonomous rebreather diving equipment. In his early diving he used rebreathers which he had made for him by the German diving gear makers Dräger: he had these sets made with the breathing bag on his back, as he did not like the bag-on-chest "frogman look". Hass and his team of researchers logged over 2000 dives utilizing oxygen rebreathers from 1942 to 1953.
Hass published "Diving to Adventure," his first book of underwater photographs, in 1939, and some credit him with developing one of the first underwater cameras. Hass completed his first underwater video called Pirsch unter Wasser (i.e. Stalking under Water) in 1940. It was published by the Universum Film AG, lasted originally only 16 minutes and was shown in theatres before the main movie, but would eventually be extended by additional filming done in the Adriatic Sea close to Dubrovnik.
Hass moved from Vienna to Berlin in 1941, where he founded the tax privileged society Expedition für biologische Meereskunde (i.e. Expedition for biological oceanography).
Hass was excused from serving in the German military during World War II because of poor circulation in his feet caused by Raynaud's disease.
On the proceeds of his hundreds of lectures, Hass was able to buy in 1942 the sailing ship Sea Devil. But he was not able to use the ship for his planned expedition because the ship was in the harbor of Szczecin and it was not possible to bring it during the war to the Mediterranean sea.
Hass rented therefore in 1942 a ship in Piraeus and sailed for several months in the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Crete. Before the war this ship had been owned by the University in Vienna. During this expedition he took film and photos underwater. Hass had read the book Raubfischer in Hellas (i.e. Blast fishermen in Hellas) written in 1939 by Werner Helwig. Hass found this group near Skiathos and was able to film their dynamite fishing under water.
In spring and summer 1943 Hass stayed several month at the Stazione Zoologica in Naples and Capri to study and collect Bryozoa, of aquatic invertebrate animal for his doctoral thesis in Zoology. In February 1944 he finished his thesis successful and was granted with the Doctor of Science.
Until the end of the war Hass lived and worked in the Filmstudios of Universum Film AG in Babelsberg near Berlin to cut and finish his film about the expedition in the Aegean Sea. This underwater movie called Menschen unter Haien (i.e. Men among Sharks) was published in 1947 and lasted for 84 minutes. Shown are e.g. wrasses, jellyfish, sponges, sea anemones, and rays. A highlight is the dynamite fishing and interaction of divers with sharks.
In Babelsberg he met Hannelore Schroth, a famous German actress. Hans and Hannelore married in 1945.
Post war activity and fame
In 1945 the "SEA DEVIL" was lost when the Russians captured Königsberg. In 1947 his movie Menschen unter Haien had its world premiere in Zurich, and his most popular book with a very similar title was released in 1948. As a consequence, he got contracts with Herzog-Film (Munich) and Sascha-Film (Vienna). He also performed his first "Xarifa" expeditions. The new research ship, named Xarifa, mostly had to be self-financed through photo safaris in the Red Sea and by the BBC.
Hass produced 105 commercial films, many featuring himself and his second wife, Lotte Baier, who was an expert diver herself. In 1951, Hass' film "Under the Red Sea" was awarded first prize at the Venice Film Festival.
After expeditions in East Africa and South Asia his first TV series were developed in 1959, in 1961 for the first time about creatures outside the water. This was followed by behaviour research and the energon theory from 1963 to 1966 as the basis of the following works. Combined with management strategies, in 1969 Hass published about commonalities with the evolution. In the 1970s he addressed environmental and commercial themes and was appointed to a professorship by the University of Vienna.
In 1983 he started longtime studies and a huge amount of tutorials about predatory instincts in profession. Hass consolidated marine biology, behaviour research and management theories under one umbrella. From his point of view his energon theory cannot be disproved. In 1989 he addressed himself to environmental themes.
Hass acknowledged a rivalry with the better-known French scientist Jacque Cousteau; according to the New York Times' obituary, Hass told historian Tim Ecott that "For Cousteau there exists only Cousteau. He never acknowledged others or corrected the impression that he wasn't the first in diving or underwater photography."
- 4 popular films
- about 70 television films
- more than 25 books, including:
- 1939: Jagd unter Wasser mit Harpune und Kamera (Hunt under water with harpoon and camera)
- 1941: Unter Korallen und Haien (Among corals and sharks)
- 1942: Fotojagd am Meeresgrund (Photo-hunt at the sea-bottom)
- 1947: Drei Jäger auf dem Meeresgrund (Three hunters on the sea-bottom)
- 1949: Menschen und Haie (Humans and sharks)
- 1952: Manta, Teufel im Roten Meer (Manta, devil in the Red Sea): English version: Manta, Under the Red Sea with Spear and Camera, English translation by James Cleugh, 1952, Rand McNally & Co., Library of Congress Card Cat. No. 53-6152.
- 1954: Ich fotografierte in den 7 Meeren (I photographed in the 7 seas)
- 1957: Wir kommen aus dem Meer (We come from the sea)
- 1958: Fische und Korallen (Fish and corals)
- 1961: Expedition ins Unbekannte (Expedition into the unknown)
- 1968: Wir Menschen. Das Geheimnis unseres Verhaltens (We humans. The secret of our behavior)
- 1970: Energon: Das verborgene Geheimnis (Energon: The hidden secret)
- 1971: In unberührten Tiefe. Die Bezwingung der tropischen Meere. (In unaffected depth. Conquest of the tropical seas)
- 1972: Vorstoss in die Tiefe. Ein Magazin über Abenteuer bei der Erforschung der Meere. (Raid into the depth. A magazine over adventures with the study of the seas)
- 1973: Welt unter Wasser. Der abenteuerliche Vorstoss des Menschen ins Meer. (World under water. The adventurous raid of humans in the sea)
- 1976: Eroberung der Tiefe. Das Meer - seine Geheimnisse, seine Gefahren, seine Erforschung. (Conquest of the deeps. The sea - its secrets, its dangers, its research)
- 1976: Der Hans-Hass-Tauchführer. Das Mittelmeer. Ein Ratgeber für Sporttaucher und Schnorchler. (The Hans Hass dive guide. The Mediterranean. An adviser for sport divers and snorkellers.)
- 1977: Der Hai. Legende eines Mörders. (The shark. Legend of a killer)
- 1978: Die Schöpfung geht weiter. Station Mensch im Strom des Lebens. (The creation continues. Station of humans in the river of the life)
- 1979: Wie der Fisch zum Menschen wurde. Die faszinierende Entwicklungsgeschichte unseres Körpers. (How fish became humans. The fascinating history of the development of our body)
- 1980: Im Roten Meer. Wiederkehr nach 30 Jahren. (In the Red Sea. Return after 30 years)
- 1985: Stadt und Lebensqualität. (City and quality of life)
- 1986: Abenteuer unter Wasser. Meine Erlebnisse und Forschungen im Meer. (Adventure under water. My experiences and research in the sea)
- 1987: Der Ball und die Rose (The ball and the rose)
- 1988: Der Hai im Management. Instinkte steuern und kontrollieren. (The shark in the management. Instincts steer and control)
- 1991: Vorstoss in unbekannte Meere (Push into unknown seas)
- 1994: Die Hyperzeller. Das neue Menschenbild der Evolution. (The Hyper-cellars. The new human picture of evolution)
- 1996: Aus der Pionierzeit des Tauchens. In unberührte Tiefen. (From the pioneer time of diving. Into untouched depths)
- 2004: Erinnerungen und Abenteuer. (Memories and adventures)
- First Prize of the Chancellor for the "best movie idea for an Austrian propaganda film" (1949)
- Gold Medal of the Photographic Society in Vienna (1950)
- Biennale Prize (1951)
- The film "Adventures in the Red Sea" received the International Prize for feature-length documentaries for the 2nd Mostra Internazionale del Film Scientifico e del Documentario d'Arte in Venice (1951)
- The TV series "Diving to Adventure" is from the BBC named "Program of the Year" (1955)
- Outstanding Underwater Photographer of the Year of the Underwater Photographic Society (USA, International Underwater Film Festival 1959)
- Oscar for extraordinary underwater photography for the film Unternehmen Xarifa (1959)
- Honorary Member of the German Skindiving (1974)
- Honorary title "Professor", awarded by Science Minister Hertha Firnberg (1977)
- Honorary Member of the European educational community - Verlag GmbH, Stuttgart (1978)
- Science Medal of the City of Linz (1987)
- IADS Lifetime Achievement Award (International Association of Diving Schools, 1989)
- Golden Needle of the Association of German Sports Divers (VDST, 1994)
- Honorary President "Sponsoring scuba diving." (1994)
- Reg Vallintine Achievement Award for Historical Diving (UK, 1994)
- Reaching Out Award (Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, United States; 1997)
- Diving Pioneer Trophy of the Historical Diving Society (USA, 1997)
- Diving Pioneer Award of the Historical Diving Society (Italy, 1997)
- Austrian Decoration for Science and Art (1997)* 
- Two NOGI Awards for Science and Distinguished Service (USA, 1998)
- Gold Medal of Honour of Vienna (1999)
- Honorary President of the PEN Club Liechtenstein (1999)
- Konrad Lorenz Award for Environmental Protection (1999)
- Golden Medal of Honour of the Austrian Federal Guild of Photographers (1999)
- DANUBIUS Donauland Sachbuchpreis (1999)
- Goldenes Lot the Association of German surveyors (1999)
- International Scuba Diving Hall of fame, 2000,
- Dieter Plage-Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in the field of nature films (2001)
- Christopher Parsons Award for outstanding achievement in the field of nature films (2004)
- Peace Prize for Biology of the "World Association of Private Schools and Universities for Complementary Healing Practices" (2005)
- Cayman Islands International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Award (2006)
- Wyland ICON Award (2006)
- Beneath the Sea Special Award (2006)
- Pannatura Prize for achievements in the nature film (2006)
- Schmitz-Salue Medal by the Friends of Aquazoo-Löbbecke Museum, Düsseldorf (2009)
- Elisabeth Mann Borgese marine prize (Schleswig-Holstein, 2009)
- DIVA - German Entertainment Price (2011)
- Platinum Romy for lifetime achievement (2012)
- A cone snail, found in the Philippines, was named after him (Protoconus hanshassi) (2012)
- Hass, Hans. "The Energon Theory". http://hans-hass.de. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Tauchpionier Hans Hass gestorben". wien.ORF.at. 1919-01-23. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
- Hans Hass, 94, early explorer of the world beneath the sea, New York Times,July 7, 2013, p18
- Hans Hass, 94, early explorer of the world beneath the sea, New York Times, July 7, 2013, p.18
- Sanders, GS; Wendell, FE (1991). "Closed-Circuit oxygen apparatus: Minimizing risks for improved efficiency.". In: Hans-Jurgen, K; Harper Jr, DE (eds.) International Pacifica Scientific Diving... 1991. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences Eleventh Annual Scientific Diving Symposium. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
- Roberts, Callum. The Unnatural History of the Sea, Island Press, 2007, p. 238
- Hans-Hass-Institut für Submarine Forschung und Tauchtechnik. "Die Filme von Prof. Dr. Hans Hass".
- Hans Hass: Erinnerungen & Abenteuer. Verl. Styria, Wien 2004, ISBN 3-222-13155-4. S. 145
- Hans Hass,94,early explorer of the world beneath the sea, New York Times, July 7, 2013, p.18
- "Hans Hass, Early Undersea Explorer, Dies at 94". NY Times. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 1084. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
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