The Hakka Story of a German Father and Son
图/文: HEPING & OU
November 2016, Schorndorf, a small town to the east of Stuttgart,
When we set off for the university town of Tübingen, the fields beside
the road were swathed in mist, but by the time we reached Tübingen the
sun was shining from a blue sky. It was late autumn, a season when the
River Neckar flows gently through its valley. Reflecting the red, yellow
and golden leaves, its water was a riot of colours.
This was our second visit. When we had driven past the campus two years
before, it had made an indelible impression on us. At that time,
however, we could hardly have imagined that Tübingen would in any way
be linked with Meizhou, a remote place in Guangdong Province, China.
Our guide was an 80-year-old German, Klaus Autenrieth. Toour ears, his
Chinese name, Hao Junhe(豪俊和), sounded rather affectionate. Hao Junhe
was born in Tübingen in 1936. When he was a mere 10 months old his
parents brought him all the way from Germany to Kaying, now Meizhou, in
the east of Guangdong Province, and he spent his childhood in the
mountainous Hakka areas of Meizhou.It was not until 1947, when he was
already 11, that he would return to Germany.。
Autenrieth spent his childhood in the mountainous Hakka areas of
Hao Junhe’s father, who was known as Hao Tianli（豪天立）, was in fact a
clergyman named Georg Emil Autenrieth. Hao Junhe told us that the
Chinese name of his father was, in fact, how his German surname sounded
in Chinese. In 1926, at the age of 26, he was sent to China for the
first time by the Basler Mission based in Switzerland.
豪天立首次到中华的时候，只是一个26岁的青春牧师。In 1926, at the age of
26, Georg Emil Autenrieth was sent to China（图：豪俊和提供）
Fritz, Georg Emil Autenrieth’s wife learnt Hakka from a Chinese
family in Kaying, now Meizhou.（图：豪俊和提供）
豪俊和一岁大时和他的客家人小伙伴们。1937, one-year-old Hao Junhe with his
Hakka little friends.（图：豪俊和提供）
绍恩多夫的市政广场。马克(Mark)etplace, Schorndorf. 2016（图：HEPING）
In Meizhou, he taught German and English at Le Yu Secondary School and
the local campus of Sun Yat-sen University. He also studied Chinese
culture, and spoke the Hakka dialect with the local residents and
students. In the room at the school where the annals are kept there are
still some archive materials about Hao Tianli, including photographs.
Hao Tianli did not return to Germany until 1947, after 21 years living
in China. His former students in Le Yu Secondary School included
doctors, professors andother academicians, and even ministers.
那是豪天立当年用过的客家话教材。The Hakka text book, Georg Emil
In fact, from the end of the 19th century until the 1950s, over one
hundred German and Swiss lived in the mountainous Hakka areas of
Meizhou. They worked as priests, teachers, doctors,nurses and charity
workers. As well as chapels, they set up schools, hospitals and welfare
houses. In Meizhou, we were surprised to learn that the first seven
headmasters of Le Yu Secondary School and the first ten presidents of
Deji Hospital, now Meizhou Municipal People’s Hospital, were all either
German or Swiss. However, this historical fact has been largely
building built in early 20 century in Le Ye Secondary School,
In the early 20thcentury, Meizhou remained a poor and remote backwater.
Yet to our utter surprise, the schools and hospitals in the mountainous
Hakka areas were the first places in China toreceive western education
and western medicine. Born and bred in the Hakka mountains, the German
and Swiss descendants became Hakka Europeans, and the Hakka language was
their second native tongue. Hao Junhe was one such descendant. Thanks
probably to his upbringing and love of China,he returned to China from
1966 to 1968 in order to study Hakka and Cantonese in Hong Kong. It was
no surprise that when we met him in November 2016 he was still speaking
fact, from the end of the 19th century until the 1950s, over one hundred
German and Swiss lived in the mountainous Hakka areas of Kaying
church in Weilheim, where Autenrieth left for China in 1926.
church in Bronnweiler, Germany. Autenrieth went back from China for a
two year leave in 1934, he was the minister in the church.
布罗魏勒教堂里古老的水墨画。丘奇(Church), Bronnweiler, Germany,
Hao drove us to his native Tübingen, where he studied for his degree.
Situated to the south of Stuttgart by the clear Neckar river it is a
famous German university town, at once traditional and modern in
character.Thanks to the university the town is fondly known as ‘the
republic of scholars’. With over 500 years of history, the university
includes among its notable alumni the astronomer Kepler, the
philosophers Hegel and Schelling, and the poets Hölderlin and Uhland.
The University of Tübingen is built on a hill, but certain of its
faculties such as Protestant Theology, Catholic Theology, Law, Economics
and Social Science, and Medicine are located throughout the town. From
the hill one can watch students rowing their boats on the Neckar in a
scene which is reminiscent of Cambridge.
After crossing the Neckar bridge and walking along the river we followed
Hao into the mountains. Whether on the high street or on the
unevengranite path to the castle, Hao walked swiftly two or three metres
ahead of us, showing no sign of his age.The castleon the hilltop is now
a university museum, giving a clear view of the town in the valley. Hao
observed that it was quite a while since his last visit, and the town
has changed significantly. He vividly remembered his student hall of
residence, and tried to use his camera to retrace his student life.
walked swiftly, showing no sign of his age. 2016（图：HEPING）
蒂宾根高校神高校门口的咖啡店。Cafe, Tubingen University,
Hao Junhe’s interestin China remains.He still reads the overseas edition
of the People’s Daily in his attic study. The archive materials, both
German and Chinese, which his father brought back from China, are intact
in their tidy categories. Hao has fond memories of his childhood in
Meizhou. Since the 1980s he has returned no fewer than16 times, not only
with his wife, but also leading parties of students when he was
headmaster of a secondary school. In his conversations with us, he would
every now and then mix English with some Hakka.In a television interview
in Meizhou, he surprised viewers by speaking in a style of Hakka that
was somewhat archaic.
豪俊和将她三叔从中国带回去的材料，保管得全部有条。The archive materials,
both German and Chinese, which his father brought back from China, are
intact in their tidy categories. 2016（图：HEPING）
photo of Mei River on the wall in Hao’s house. 2016（图：HEPING）
In November 1984 the Alumni Association of the Le Yu Secondary School
elected his father Hao Tianli as its honorary president.
Unfortunately,Hao Tianli had died only the previous year. He is buried
in his native Weilheim, whence he had first set off for China many
Hao took us to see his father’s tomb in Weilheim. In the tranquil
graveyard, and by the side of a dark green conifer, was an unusual
tombstone carved in Chinese. It bears the intriguing inscription: I AM
豪天立的墓碑，在这一个德意志联邦共和国墓地里显示极度。An unusual tombstone carved
in Chinese. It bears the intriguing inscription: I AM THE LIFE.
(English translated by Laura & Andrew, 2017.1)