Unexpected talents discovered in the Federal Volunteer Service

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Title pages of old Tamil prints from the library of the Francke Foundations are being prepared for indexing.

Earnest Philip Joshua, volunteer in the weltwärts programme, in the library of the Francke Foundations

Earnest Philip Joshua decided to spend a year getting to know the Francke Foundations as an employee in the exhibition office as part of the weltwärts programme. In conversation with his colleagues, it turned out quite incidentally that he can decipher the 300-year-old tamale prints in the library of the Francke Foundations. He had already come into contact with them at school, as Philip explains, but it was a socio-political commitment that led him closer to the old texts.

In the coming weeks, he will transliterate the title pages of the prints with the help of standardised tables, record them according to a fixed scheme and propose the translation into German. On this basis, the prints can later be listed and researched in electronic catalogues.

For the library staff, this little discovery is very helpful. In the past, it was hardly possible to find experts in Germany for the task, because only a few people in this country are able to read the works set in old Tamil letters.