In memoriam: Rolf G. Tiedemann (1941–2019)
In August 2019, the renowned historian and expert on the history of the Yihetuan uprising (Boxer Uprising) and Christianity in China, Professor Rolf Gerhard (Gary) Tiedemann passed away (in Chinese he published under the name Di Deman 狄德滿).
Tiedemann was born in a village in Holstein/Germany as the son of the farm worker Hinrich Tiedemann and his wife Hertha (née Kroos). There he grew up in very modest conditions which were exacerbated by the effects of the Second World War. It was nevertheless possible for him to complete his schooling and take up a commercial apprenticeship in Hamburg. After moving to the USA, he worked in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, initially also in the commercial sector. During his military service there in the 1960s, Tiedemann had the opportunity to study Chinese history, which eventually led him to Great Britain, where he earned his master’s degree and spent most of his academic life. Here he also received his doctorate in 1991 with the study “Rural Unrest in North China 1868–1900: With Particular Reference to South Shandong” at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. For more than twenty years until his retirement in 2006, Tiedemann was also a lecturer on the history of modern China at the SOAS.