Harrer died on January 7, 2006 in Austria. He was 93.
In his condolence message to Mrs. Carina Harrer, sent on January 10, 2006 from Amravati in South India where he is bestowing the Kalachakra Empowerments, the Dalai Lama said Harrer “had the unique opportunity to experience life in Tibet for seven long years before Tibet lost its freedom. We Tibetans will always remember Heinrich Harrer and will miss him greatly.”
Harrer was one of the the recipients of the International Campaign for Tibet’s Light of Truth Award for 2002. The award was presented to Harrer by the Dalai Lama on October 15, 2002 in Graz, Austria. He was honored for his unparalleled mobilization of concern and sympathy for the people of Tibet, mainly through his 1952 book, Seven Years in Tibet. Harrer and his companion Peter Aufschnaiter lived in Lhasa after escaping from a British prisoner of war camp in India and provided the world with a final glimpse of life in an independent Tibetan state prior to the Chinese invasion. Subsequently, Harrer organized expeditions to many other parts of the globe, becoming a champion for indigenous and occupied peoples’ rights. In his acceptance of the award, Harrer noted how his outlook on life was changed forever by living with the Tibetan people.
Following is the full report published by www.tibet.net, the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said Heinrich Harrer Will Always be Remembered by the Tibetan People
January 10, 2006
Dharamsala: In a condolence message to the wife of Heinrich Harrer, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I am extremely sorry to hear of the passing away of my friend Heinrich Harrer. I wish to convery you and your family members my deeply felt condolence. I am particularly saddened because Heinrich Harrer was a personal friend and taught me English, an Austrian English teacher!
“When I first met him in 1949, he was from a world I was not familiar with. I learned many things, particularly about Europe, from him.
“I want to take this opportunity to express my immense gratitude and appreciation for his creating so much awareness about Tibet and the Tibetan people through his well-known book Seven Years in Tibet and the many lectures he gave throughout his life. His love and respect for the Tibetan people are clearly evident in his writtings and his talks”.
“We feel we have lost a loyal friend from the West, who had the unique opportunity to experience life in Tibet for seven long years before Tibet lost its freedom. We Tibetans will always remember Heinrich Harrer and will miss him greatly.
“My prayers are with you and your family.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent the condolence message on 10 January 2006 from Amravati where he is currently giving the Kalachakra teachings to over 100,000 people.