The acclaimed hominologist Marie-Jeanne Koffmann will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 22, 2019. She lives in Paris, in a home, Gautier Wendelen (below), for the elderly.
Born in France, Koffmann spent most of her life in the Soviet Union, as a surgeon at Moscow hospitals and a mountaineer. She became interested in the “Snowman” mystery in the 1950s, particularly in Kabrarda (Caucasus), where she recorded hundreds of sightings of the almasty, the local variety of the Almas.
From 1948 to 1954, Koffmann was held in a gulag (Soviet labor camp) after being accused of spying for the French. Four years after her release, she was picked to be on the Soviet Union’s first official expedition to the Pamirs. She was the doctor of the Pamirs Academy of Sciences Snowman Expedition, in 1958. She published a synthesis of her fieldwork and research in the journal Archeologia.
Official logo of the 1992 expedition.
Koffmann, Marie-Jeanne. 1991. “L’ Almasty, yeti du Caucase.” Archeologia. 269. pp. 24-43.
Koffmann, Marie-Jeanne. 1992. “L’ Almasty, mode de vie d’un hominide.” Archeologia. 276. pp. 52-65.
Koffmann’s off-road vehicle “Gasik” ~ after more than thirty years of fieldwork ~ ended its working life and was taken apart. (Sarmakovo, Kabardino-Balkaria, Summer 1999).
Greenwell: What first got you interested or involved in this question of unknown hominoids? What motivated you, and when did it happen?
Koffmann: It was in 1957, when I first saw an article in the Soviet press entitled “What Is the Snowman?” It told about some of the first expeditions. The article consisted of comments by eight mountain climbers whom I knew, half of whom thought the whole idea was impossible. The other half thought that there might be something to the reports.