Early Photography in Albania
Robert Elsie
This website is devoted to the life and work of the Austrian scholar, Maximilian Lambertz (1882-1963). Max Lambertz was born on 27 July 1882 and raised in Vienna. He studied comparative linguistics and classics at the university there from 1900 to 1905, finishing his doctorate on Die griechischen Sklavennamen (Greek Slave Names), Vienna 1907. A government scholarship enabled the young classical scholar to visit Italy and Greece, where, listening in on the conversations of the fishermen of Attica and shepherds in Thebes, he first came into contact with the Albanian language. On his return to Vienna, he began teaching school but moved in 1907 to Munich to collaborate on the great Thesaurus Linguae Latinae  (Thesaurus of the Latin Language). In 1911, he returned to Vienna to continue working as a high school teacher. His earliest Albanological publication, together with Gjergj Pekmezi, was a Lehr- und Lesebuch des Albanischen  (Manual and Reader of Albanian), Vienna 1913. In 1913 and 1914, he travelled to southern Italy for several weeks to study the Albanian dialects there. He concentrated in particular on the less known northern dialects in Abruzzi and Molise, especially Badhesa (Ital. Villa Badessa). In May to July 1916, Max Lambertz visited northern and central Albania for the first time as a member of the Balkan Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences to do linguistic and folklore research. His visit took him to Gruda, Shkodra, Lezha, Kruja, Tirana, Durrës, the Kir valley, Shoshi, Shala, the Drin and Valbona valleys and especially to Mirdita where he spent much time studying the dialect and collecting folklore material. It was this trip that resulted in the photo collection being presented here. In December 1916, he returned to Albania, this time with Austro-Hungarian troops who had occupied much of northern and central Albania, and was charged with supervising schools in this part of the country. He was also a member of the Albanian Literary Commission, which was set up by the Austro-Hungarian authorities to create a literary norm and a standard orthography for Albanian. While in Shkodra, he served with Gjergj Fishta on the editorial board of the biweekly newspaper Posta e Shcypniës (The Albanian Post), 1916-1918, in which he published several articles. His Albanian folklore material first appeared in his Volkspoesie der Albaner: eine einführende Studie (The Folk Poetry of the Albanians: an Introductory Study), Sarajevo 1917. Lambertz returned to Austria after the war and taught school until 1934, continuing all the while to write books and articles on various aspects of Albanian culture, in particular folklore. In 1934, with the rise of the Dollfuss regime in Austria, Lambertz was forced to resign from teaching. He had been a member of the Austrian Social Democratic Party since 1910. At the age of fifty- three, living in Vienna, he returned to university to study Protestant theology, but his dissertation was rejected by the Faculty for racial reasons. His mother stemmed from a Jewish family. In 1939, Lambertz went back to Munich to continue his work on the Thesaurus and remained there until 1942. In 1943, he moved to Leizpig, where he taught French and Italian and collaborated on the Pauly-Wissowa Realenzyklopädie der Altertumswissenschaften (Encyclopedia of Classical Antiquity). In June 1945, having become a member of the Communist Party, he was made director of the Leipzig School of Foreign Languages, and, in October 1946, he became professor for comparative linguistics and, until 1949, dean of the new Faculty of Education at the Karl Marx University of Leipzig. He was also director of the Institute of Indo-European Studies until retirement in 1957. He visited Albania in June 1954 and in 1957 and, even after the break in close political relations between Albania and the Warsaw Pact, he refused to abandon his ties with the country and attended functions at the Albanian Embassy in East Berlin. While a professor in Leipzig, Lambertz lived with his Austrian wife Josepha in a villa in the suburb of Markkleeberg. The marriage was not a happy one and the couple had no children. It was there that he died on 26 August 1963, and now lies buried at the Wien-Döbling cemetery in his native Vienna. Although Max Lambertz was a classical scholar, and later a theologian by training, his greatest scholarly passion was and remained Albanian philology. He is considered the most prominent German-language exponent of Albanian studies in the twentieth century and has left behind him an impressive list of publications: Albanische Märchen und andere Texte zur albanischen Volks- kunde (Albanian Folk Tales and other Texts on Albanian Folklore), Vienna 1922; Zwischen Drin und Vojusa: Märchen aus Albanien (Between the Drin and the Vjosa: Folk Tales from Albania), Leipzig 1922; a two-volume Albanisches Lesebuch mit Einführung in die albanische Sprache (Albanian Reader with an Introduction to the Albanian Language), Leipzig 1948; Gjergj Fishta und das albanische Heldenepos "Lahuta e Malcís," Laute des Hochlandes: eine Einführung in die albanische Sagenwelt (Gjergj Fishta and the Heroic Epic "Lahuta e Malcís," the Highland Lute: an Introduction to the World of Albanian Legendry), Leipzig 1949; Die geflügelte Schwester und die Dunklen der Erde: albanische Volksmärchen (The Winged Sister and the Dark Spirits of the Earth: Albanian Folk Tales), Eisenach 1952; a three-volume Lehrgang des Albanischen  (Manual of Albanian), Berlin 1954-1955, Halle/Saale 1959; Albanien erzählt: ein Einblick in die albanische Literatur (Albania Narrates: a View of Albanian Literature), Berlin 1956; and Die Volksepik der Albaner (The Folk Epic of the Albanians), Halle 1958. Unpublished remained his 187-page manuscript Das Drama im albanischen Theater von heute (Drama in Modern Albanian Theatre), written in 1963. Robert Elsie
AL Photography Maximilian Lambertz Photos Southern Italy 1913-1914 Photos Albania 1916 Webdesign J. Gross TOP
Maximilian Lambertz
Max Lambertz in Albanian costume in Shkodra, 1916
Maximilian Lambertz
Bibliography Publications of Lambertz Maximilian Lambertz