On Dr Werner Kissling's grave in St Michael's Cemetery in Dumfries (the same cemetery that contains the grave of Robert Burns) are the words "Soldier, Diplomat, Scholar, Gentleman".
He was all those things, and many more. A distinguished ethnologist he worked in the Western Isles (where he developed an expertise in the Hebridean Black House), Arizona and New Zealand. The heir to a very wealthy brewing family he inherited a fortune, which he spent lavishly before being cheated out of the rest. He started his life as a German aristocrat living in a grand castle but finished it as the tenant of bed sit in Dumfries. He was a prominent anti-Nazi , involved in prosecuting Hitler after the Beer Hall putsch , whose brother was one of the Colonels of the Colonels plot. yet the people of the Hebrides thought he was a Nazi spy. He made the first ever film in Gaelic and was one of the great photographers of the Western Isles yet he was forced to scrape a living selling pictures of traditional crafts to universities.
Kissling - The Enigma tells the forgotten story of a remarkable and complex man whose life was , at times, a mirror of the troubled European mid twentieth century.
Made for BBC Scotland in 1994 , in Gaelic with Englihs subtitles, it was directed by Ishbel MacIver and written and produced by Michael Russell who also wrote a biography of Werner Kissling (Poem of Remote Lives, Neil Wilson Publishing, 1997) and edited a book of his photographs (A Different Country, Birlinn, 2000).