In 1936-37, Thor Heyerdahl and his first wife, Liv, spent a year on the island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas. On their way home to Norway, the couple visited the German race ideologist Hans F. K. Günther in Berlin. Günther’s wife was a friend of Liv’s mother and the young couple wanted an insider’s help to sell their collection of zoological specimens and ethnological and archaeological artefacts. This collection was supposed to tie them over financially until Heyerdahl’s travelogue, which he was about to write, would be published.
This meeting has stirred the interest of various biographers and researchers, who, perhaps, anticipate a connection between Heyerdahl’s white race of culture bearers and his connection to a Nazi raciologist. However, this one-time visit is the only contact between the two on record. And, here, one would hope that the matter could be put to rest, but unfortunately this seems not to be the case.
In the autumn of 2019, a young Norwegian historian, Per Ivar Hjeldsbakken Engevold, published a study of Thor Heyerdahl’s work and theories entitled Thor Heyerdahl and the Search for Atlantis. The book purports to be an in-depth study of Heyerdahl’s theoretical framework. It claims that all his various theories of cultural connection and migrations are connected in a hyperdiffusionist’s search for a white master race. This theory is supposedly inspired by Hans F. K. Günther.
The book is riddled with the writer’s personal assumptions and is affected by inadequate research. Some events in Thor Heyerdahl’s life, like his contact with Hans F. K. Günther, is particularly affected by this, leading the author to interpretations that goes far beyond current evidence. In an ensuing debate, Eirik Stokke and Reidar Solsvik, wrote a lengthy review of the book which was made public by the Kon-Tiki Museum. Since this paper corrects some basic facts relating to Thor Heyerdahl’s connection with Hans F. K. Günther, and details some of the evidence found in Heyerdahl’s writings, pointing to him not holding a racist view of cultural development and prehistoric migrations, we make this paper available in a translated and slightly rewritten version: White Gods, White Researchers, White Lies, by Eirik Stokke and Reidar Solsvik (2019).