Hans Hass
Hans Hass is a diving pioneer known mainly for his documentaries
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 about shark
Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

s, the energon theory, and his commitment, later in life, to the protection of the environment. He was born in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...


Early years

His Matura
Matura or a similar term is the common name for the high-school leaving exam or "maturity exam" in various countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia,...

 trip of 1937 to the Riviera
French Riviera
The Côte d'Azur, pronounced , often known in English as the French Riviera , is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco...

, which included underwater hunting and photography, had a formative effect on him. After making expeditions to the Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and writing his first professional articles, in 1940 Hass switched from reading law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 to zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

 studies and graduated in 1943. In his early diving he used rebreather
A rebreather is a type of breathing set that provides a breathing gas containing oxygen and recycled exhaled gas. This recycling reduces the volume of breathing gas used, making a rebreather lighter and more compact than an open-circuit breathing set for the same duration in environments where...

s which he had made for him by the German diving gear makers Dräger
The Drägerwerk AG is a German company based in Lübeck which makes breathing and protection equipment, gas detection and analysis systems, and noninvasive patient monitoring technologies. Customers include hospitals, fire departments and diving companies....

: he had these sets made with the breathing bag on his back, as he did not like the bag-on-chest "frogman
A frogman is someone who is trained to scuba diving or swim underwater in a military capacity which can include combat. Such personnel are also known by the more formal names of combat diver or combatant diver or combat swimmer....


Don Stewart, one of the first scuba operators on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, blames Hass for single-handedly hunting the Goliath grouper
Goliath grouper
The Atlantic goliath grouper or itajara , commonly known as the Jewfish is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths anywhere from 15 to 165 feet...

 to local extinction.

Wartime period

Hass completed his first underwater video
Underwater videography
Underwater videography is a video production, the branch of underwater photography concerned with capturing underwater moving images either as a recreational diving or commercial documentary, or filmmaking activity.-Limitations:...

 called Pirsch unter Wasser (i.e. Stalking under Water) in 1940. It was published by the Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG, better known as UFA or Ufa, is a film company that was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry during the Weimar Republic and through World War II, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945...

, 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
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

 close to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...


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).

In 1942 Hass completed the filming of his second underwater movie called Menschen unter Haien (i.e. Men among Sharks) which lasted for 84 minutes and was produced during several months in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and the Sea of Crete
Sea of Crete
thumb|300px|Map of the Sea of CreteThe Sea of Crete is the sea south of the Aegean Sea, north of the island Crete, and south of the Cyclades. The sea also stretches from Kythera east to the Dodecanese islands of Karpathos and Kassos. The bounding seas to the west are the Ionian Sea as well as...

. Shown are e.g. wrasses, jellyfish, sponges, sea anemones, and rays. A highlight is the interaction of the divers with sharks.

Hass was then conscripted in the Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. Due to his diving skills he was assigned to the so-called "Fighters of the Sea" battalion: the first frogmen of the German "Wehrmacht" as they used to call themselves. Founded in 1943 as an element of the military secret service they were one of the "Kriegsmarine's" most important nuclei of the so called "Kleinkampfverband" in 1944. Its main mission was to explore the opponent's port facilities, to eliminate the enemy's vessels and to destroy bridges and floodgates in inland waters.

The origin, equipment and training of this legendary special unit as well as its incorporation into the command structure of the "Wehrmacht" are until today only fragmentarily documented in scientific investigations. The main reason is that corresponding records were almost completely destroyed. Furthermore many of the still living veterans such as Hans Hass himself feel themselves bound by their oath of secrecy they swore at that time.

Post war activity and fame

In 1945 his research vessel was lost when the Russians captured Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

, so he addressed himself to anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

. In 1947 his movie Menschen unter Haien (Men Among Sharks) had its world premiere in Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake 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
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

) 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 safari
A safari is an overland journey, usually a trip by tourists to Africa. Traditionally, the term is used for a big-game hunt, but today the term often refers to a trip taken not for the purposes of hunting, but to observe and photograph animals and other wildlife.-Etymology:Entering the English...

s in the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 and by the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...


After expeditions in East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 and South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 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
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

 strategies, in 1969 Hass published about commonalities with the evolution. In the 1970s he addressed environmental and commercial themes and was appointed to a professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

ship by the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...


In 1983 he started longtime studies and a huge amount of tutorials about predatory instincts in profession. Hass consolidated marine biology
Marine biology
Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather...

, 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.

Hans Hass was married to German actress Hannelore Schroth
Hannelore Schroth
Hannelore Schroth was German film, stage and television actress whose career spanned over five decades.-Career:...

, a union that produced a son Hans Hass, Jr. The marriage ended in divorce. He has been married to his second wife, Lotte Baierl, since 1950.


  • 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
      Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

      . 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
      Embryology is a science which is about the development of an embryo from the fertilization of the ovum to the fetus stage...

    • 1980: Im Roten Meer. Wiederkehr nach 30 Jahren. (In the Red Sea
      Red Sea
      The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

      . 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
      Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

    • 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)


  • Biennale Prize 1951
  • Oscar
    Academy Awards
    An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

     for extraordinary underwater photography
    Underwater photography
    Underwater photography is the process of taking photographs while under water. It is usually done while scuba diving, but can be done while snorkeling or swimming.-Overview:...

     for the film Unternehmen Xarifa 1959
  • Austrian Decoration for Science and Art 1998
  • Konrad Lorenz
    Konrad Lorenz
    Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch...

     Award 1999
  • International Scuba Diving Hall of fame, 2000, http://www.scubahalloffame.com/hof/hans_lottie_hass.aspx
  • Five more science awards

External links

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