Jewish Journal


July 24, 1997

Descending into His Past


Since actor Brad Pitt and his producers completed shooting the upcoming film "Seven Years in Tibet," they have made an embarrassing discovery: The hero of the movie, Austrian mountaineer, explorer and human rights activist Heinrich Harrer, was also a one-time member of Hitler's SA storm troopers and his elite, black-clad SS.

The film is based on Harrer's autobio-graphical book, which chronicles his stay in Tibet from 1944 to 1951. While there, Harrer became the favorite tutor of the then-youthful Dalai Lama.

After the Chinese occupied Tibet in 1950, Harrer photographed the conquerors' human rights abuses; he continued to agitate for Tibetan freedom well after his

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