From point zero to a blessed support of the Foundation's daliy work

30 years Association of Friends of the Francke Foundations 2020

The founding members of the Association of Friends sit at the table in the Chernishevsky House and vote unanimously on the statutes.

On 9 June 2020 the Association of Friends of the Francke Foundations e.V. celebrated its 30th anniversary. We offered our sincere congratulations on 3 decades of successful work based on voluntary commitment. With over 1000 members, the Freundeskreis is not only one of the largest support associations of its kind in Central Germany, but has also been a reliable partner, source of inspiration and financial support for the work of the foundation since its inception. Moreover, without his Association of friends, the Francke Foundations would probably not exist in this form today. For it was from his midst that the call for a revival of the foundations as an independent institution first arose. Many renowned projects would not have come about in this way without the financial support of the Association of Friends. These include the restoration of the Cabinets of Curiosities as well as the renovation of the Latina buildings. But the Association of Friends has also greatly promoted the work in the Pflanzgarden, in Stichelsdorf, in the Day-Care Centres, in the Study Centre and in the Krocoseum. For this, we would like to express our sincere thanks to all members and donors, first and foremost to the President Michael Reinboth and his three predecessors, all the way back to the founding President Prof. Paul Raabe, but also to the entire board, the coordinator Franka Schneider and, last but not least, Dr. Loof. The foundations and their Association of friends are closely connected and intend to remain so in the decades to come. The Association of Friends needs new members in order to continue its important work. The anniversary is the right occasion to join. The reasons for this and why it is worthwhile can be seen below from the perspective of a junior member of the Association of Friends. A warm welcome!

Thomas Müller-Bahlke

Point Zero

An insight into the diary of Prof. Dr. Helmut Obst brings back the exciting hours around the foundation of the circle of friends:

Saturday, 9 June 1990
Today the »Freundeskreis der Franckeschen Stiftungen e. V.« is founded.

The evening before, Friday 8 June, brings a lot of surprises. I had asked the representative of the Faculty of Theology in the church leadership, Dr Beintker, to report on the planned founding of the Association of Friends at the meeting of the church leadership. At about 6 p.m. a call from Magdeburg, the consistory and church leadership dealt with the question. One of the legal consistory councillors asked me to ensure that the statutes of the Association of Friends do not take a position on the question of the ownership of the foundations; the present draft would do so by clearly assigning it to the university. The foundations had been dissolved in 1946 by the Presidium of the Province of Saxony and their property expropriated. The Church, as the guardian of the founder's will to set up the foundations, had objected to this and had never recognised the transaction as legal. The question should be reopened with a view to restoring the foundations.

In substance, all is well, but for tomorrow's founding assembly it could mean a disaster. I must prevent that.

On Saturday, 10.6.1990, 10.15 a.m. the most active founding members will meet for a preliminary meeting in the Chernyshevsky House. The Preparatory Committee had asked me to chair the meeting until the election of the President, and colleague Arno Sames to conduct the electoral process. I energetically take the preliminary meeting into my hands. In the end, we succeeded in asserting the neutrality of the Association of friends in the question of ownership, which at the same time fundamentally affects the future of the Francke Foundations. Deletions are made, an addition is formulated. The Rector also agrees.

11 a.m. I open the meeting in the Wilhelm Pieck Hall under the large picture of the first GDR president.

About 60 people have gathered. There are unanimous results as in old times.

The director of the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Paul Raabe is elected President, I am elected Vice-President. Lunch at the »Haus der Wissenschaft«.

The founding of the Association of Friends in the press release of 9 June 1990

The press release on the founding of the Association of Friends hardly hints at the excitement that accompanied the event. The committee laid the foundations for today's foundations in a very farsighted way: In the original document, you can read about the plans that had already been developed, the exhibitions that were planned, and the priorities that had been set for the Foundation's work.

The young generation 2020

Why Pauline Haschke dedicates her free time to the Association of Friends? We present her impressive speech for the Francke Celebration 2020.

Porträt von Pauline Haschke, Juniorin des Freundeskreises, vor dem Historischen Waisenhaus

For the first time in its history, the Francke celebration could not take place in March 2020 due to the Corona pandemic. We present Pauline Haschke's speech on the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Friends online here:

Ladies and gentlemen, Prof. Dr. Müller-Bahlke, dear Members of the Foundation, dear Guests,

It is a great honour for me to stand here today and speak on behalf of the Junior Association of Friends of the Francke Foundations.

My name is Pauline Haschke and I have been a member of the Junior Friends of the Francke Foundations since March 2015.

In the course of the following speech, I have not only recapitulated the beginnings of the Foundations or those of the Association of Friends, but also my personal beginning in the Foundations. I got my first impressions from my school days at the Latina - in this everyday life, which took place for the last 8 years in houses 42 and 43, the Francke Foundations quickly developed into a familiar place. Nevertheless, some parts remained opaque and exciting. Some questions or places I have not been able to penetrate to this day, which is simply because the Francke Foundations, as a cultural complex, have such a variety of institutions, history and events to offer that I and probably many others, be they foundation members or visitors, are always encouraged to want to explore the foundation's activities more deeply and get to know them in more detail.

When I finally joined the Junior Association of Friends, I was largely driven by the motivation to become a part of everything. And not just passively, by drawing on the education offered here on so many levels day in, day out, but by actively shaping the life of the foundation. In fact, this is exactly what has been made possible by the work of the Association of Friends. After a short excursion into the importance of involvement in the foundations, I will now go on to more about this.
The reason why I originally addressed my school life is a small, personal insight. We, as 14-year-old pupils, were given the task of preparing a portfolio on the subject of everyday heroes. Back then, I spent days - or even weeks - pondering what group of people and what kind of commitment would be worthy of such an extensive essay. In the end, I decided on a very special organisation that doesn't really play a role in our everyday life here. Later I noticed that I had overlooked what I encounter every day in my everyday life. And now you can safely guess what insight I had matured: All volunteers of the foundations are small or big everyday heroes. Anyone who makes a contribution to maintaining and continuing the idea of charity would certainly be an everyday hero in Frank's eyes as well. Because this commitment is unfortunately not a matter of course for everyone.

We as juniors - and I would also describe this as the best part of this kind of commitment in the foundations - try to organise various events behind the scenes in our everyday lives with small steps and many hands and prepare everything necessary for them. Our tasks range from baking cakes for the »Former Teachers' Meetings«, laying the franckings, looking after the town's cemetery and providing cloakroom services at regular events in the Freylinghausen Hall.

But all these tasks that we want to accomplish are ultimately only possible because creative minds and hard-working hands are also working together in another area on projects that need our support in the first place. This results in two things. Firstly, that a cycle has been created here in the foundations, a complex that builds on the willingness of everyone to help to ensure its successful existence. And secondly, I think that we must always remember how clearly the smallest but reliable support can have a significant effect on the future and the history of the Francke Foundations.

Only in the awareness of the mutual interdependence of all institutions with the people behind them and the absolute necessity of any additional, voluntary commitment, above all beyond professional or school obligations, can one succeed in preserving, maintaining and further developing such an educational and cultural institution, which August Hermann Francke began to build in 1698, in keeping with the spirit of the times.
The key to the success of an association of such dimensions is revealed by this year's motto: Action! This is of course reflected in the goal of moving mountains with this energy. We all know that this is easier said than done. It is anything but self-evident that the foundations have been in existence for 322 years and have been successful despite all the ups and downs. After all, to this day the foundations are no ordinary educational institution. This is where people live and work together. Every day, everyone who helps to maintain the foundations in the spirit of Francke moves a small hill, until finally mountains can be climbed together or even mountains can be moved. Only together can all challenges be mastered and the results enjoyed together.

The commitment that the Association of Friends has been carrying out for 30 years cultivates traditions, strengthens permanence and stimulates not only the preservation and maintenance of the cultural heritage, but also its further development.

When one considers all these aspects, it fills me personally with respect for the achievements of the founding members of the Association of Friends. The absolute conviction and the courage to take up this challenge not only inspires me, but also motivates people of all generations who are at home in the foundations.

Recently I read that 4000 people come and go in the foundations. I firmly believe that the hearts of some of these people have started beating for the foundations and that the foundations are indeed a home or at least a second home for many. It is precisely these people who maintain the lives of between 4000 people and 50 buildings from 4 centuries. It is exactly these people who invest their time and energy not only in their personal development, but also, to a large extent, in the development of an institution with the aim of equal education and the preservation of culture and history in the most diverse areas.
This is what makes honest commitment: One stands with conviction behind a common goal, behind common perspectives and common ideals. Just as we do here in the foundations. After all, what would not only the foundations be, but even a world without the willingness to give good things in order to create good things?

As the youngest generation in the Association of Friends, we at the junior level are not only introduced to the life of the Foundation, but are also encouraged to participate in society and be open to the world. Personal development is also encouraged. On the one hand, you meet an unbelievable number of people and learn from them or from the knowledge of the foundations themselves.  On the other hand, every activity in the foundations feels good and right.  It makes you happy, because you know you are helping to advance something great. I dare to say at this point that this is not only true for us, as juniors.

Finally, a little metaphor: Often one says or hears that the heart of the Francke Foundations is the orphanage where it all began. Materially speaking, I completely agree with this. But I would like to conclude by giving you my new interpretation of this term in the sense of this year's foundation motto: At the heart of the Francke Foundations are the people who work with joy and conviction on the shape, the impact and the future of this old, tried and tested, but nevertheless future-oriented institution and who constantly revive the foundation's activities!

 Many thanks!