Krämer Translation Project

During the German administration of the pacific islands, a South Sea Expedition was organized by the Hamburg Museum. Anthropologists were sent out to the various islands to do in-depth studies on the people and culture, which resulted in the publication of a series of invaluable books, called “Ergebnisse der Südsee-Expedition, 1908-1910”. German anthropologist Dr. Augustin Krämer and his artist wife Elisabeth did the 5 volumes on Palau, while Anneliese Eilers did 2 volumes on the remote Southwest Islands, which are culturally closer to Yap, but politically part of the Republic of Palau. These 7 culturally invaluable volumes, in old German mixed with old Palauan, and full of drawings and photographs, are found in most museum libraries in Europe, but were unknown to Palauans.
After its opening, the Etpison Museum paid two professional translators over a period of 2 years to translate two of the volumes, Krämer – volume 3 and Eilers – volume 2. Due to the difficulties encountered translating both the old German and Palauan texts, we had a hard time finding translators willing to take on the rest of the volumes. The Belau National Museum had a partial translation of Krämer – volume 2 done, their translator finalized this volume in 2010.
Thomas Schubert, a German national who started the Krämer Café restaurant at the Etpison Museum in 1999 and later became Honorary Consul of Germany to Palau, revived the translation effort with financial support from the German Embassy in Manila in 2009. A committee was formed in 2010 with the Palau Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the two local Museums. Translators and reviewers were hired to take on the combined works, with the translated Krämer volumes 2, 3 and Eilers – 2 donated by the museums for this project.
The Translation Project was published into 7 hardcover books and one DVD in December 2017, and are for sale at the Etpison Museum and at the Belau National Museum. Proceeds will be used for the commitees’ new 2020 project, which is the translation of J.S.Kubary’s 1870-1880s research on Palau and Yap.
Start of the Translation project in 2010 under the administration of President Toribiong.


Unusual for the time, Elisabeth Krämer-Bannow accompanied her husband everywhere during his travels, and collected most of the information on the women’s customs in Palau, which would have been difficult for a man to do. The Palau volumes are also the most visually attractive volumes of the whole pacific series due to her beautiful watercolor illustrations.