Situation of Sorbs in Germany
Mon, 08 Oct 2001 22:51:34 -0400
HELP US SAVE OUR SCHOOLS
The present battle to protect Sorbian schools for the future of Sorbian children goes on! We must not stand by helplessly but must do what we can to counteract the German Government's decision to close Sorbian schools. We must protest the wrongful path taken by this Government by continuing to support the "Witaj-project"(Sorbian language immersion program) which promotes the teaching of the Sorbian language in kindergartens and schools. Regrettably, the program operates on minimal government support, therefore this appeal is sent out to organizations and private individuals to aid in developing contacts or provide assistance to those Sorbian schools so very much in need. Interested and concerned parties may contact the Sorbian School Association, where more information is readily available:
Ludmila Budarjowa, President
Serbske sulske towaristwo
(Sorbian School Association)
P—stowe namesto 2 D-02625
Budysin (Bautzen) Luzyca
tel. +49- (0 35 91) 57 72 41
fax. +49- (0 35 91) 55 02 20
Maria Elikowska-Winkler, Director
Sula za dolnoserbsku rec a kulturu
(School for the Lower Sorbian Language and Culture)
Zylojska droga 37
D-03042 Chosebuz (Cottbus)
tel./ fax. +49- (0355) 792829
Those Institutions or any one person(s) interested in supporting the Sorbian schools with a vitally needed financial donation can do so via the following address. No amount given is too small and every amount received helps us fight the German Government's discrimination!
Sorbischen Schulverein e.V. - name: "WITAJ-Fonds zweisprachige Erziehung" - account no: 72 20 700 - BLZ: 870 700 24 - Geldinstitut: Deutsche Bank 24
WHO ARE THE SORBS?
The Sorbs, (also known as Wends) live in Lusatia, a region in Eastern Germany and are considered the indigenous people of this region. Despite never having their own state and the fact that from the tenth century onwards were subject to German rule, they were able, until recently, to retain their separate ethnic identity by maintaining their distinct slavonic language and culture.
After 10 centuries of physical extermination and repeated campaigns of brutal discrimination the Sorbs have endured, albeit at the price of great loss and denationalization of nearly 90% of the Sorbian population. A diminished number have survived events that can only be described as cultural genocide. The current population of Sorbs is estimated at about 60.000 people and rapidly melting away!
Today, despite all the rights enshrined for the Sorbian people in the Constitutional Acts of the Free State of Saxony and the Land of Brandenburg, a considerable lack of political will is still being demonstrated by the Federal Government of Germany and the respective Governments of Saxony and Brandenburg to provide a lasting and meaningful solution to the challenges facing the Sorbian people.
These challenges are numerous:
The lack of active political representation in either of the Land parliaments or the Federal parliament of Germany.
The continuous destruction of Sorbian inhabited territory, which is supposed to be protected in the respective Constitutional Acts of Saxony and Brandenburg, yet which in reality goes unprotected, ludicrously with the official sanction of the government, as is the case with the Government of Brandenburg.
The notorious cuts by the Federal Government in funding provided for the Sorbian people, upon which the entire Sorbian educational and cultural institutions are reliant and without which the survival of these vital institutions is lost, thereby ensure the loss of the entire Sorbian culture. Their very national fabric is threatened with these inevitable closures, the evidence of which is already seen in the numerous lay offs of Sorbian staff.
The lack of proper access to different media such as TV and radio for the broadcast of Sorbian language programs. Half hour programs offered once a month by MDR TV in Saxony and ORB TV in Brandenburg are a far cry from what is actually needed to counterbalance the exposure of Sorbian children to the ever present German media, which in turn renders the efforts of Sorbian teachers almost useless!
Last but not least, the existence of the Sorbian "Witaj-project" which is entirely based on the Canadian French language immersion program is a great success story in Canada as well as in France for the Breton people, but in Germany after its introduction for the Sorbs it continues to struggle!
All these facts are evident in "Domowina's" consecutive appeals to the UN Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International protests against the respective German Governments' violations. They are also present in documents of the European Union as well as other independent international organizations.
RECENT EVENTS IN LUSATIA
SORBIAN SCHOOL CLOSURE IN CHROSCICY (CROSTWITZ), LUSATIA
- The Union of Lusatian Sorbs "Domowina" is asking for international support, submitting appeals to the UN Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International
- In Lusatia there are daily protests held on the grounds of the Sorbian school in Chroscicy/Crostwitz.
- Czech parliamentarians publicly criticized the closure of the school as well as openly questioned the German Government's true intentions towards the Sorbian people.
- Sixty five Russian intellectuals signed a letter of protest to the German Government.
- Czech and Russian TV crews are on location filmingÊ the Sorbian struggle
GENERAL STRIKE IN LUSATIA
In light of the escalating situation regarding the Sorbian school in Chroscicy (Crostwitz) a general strike of all Sorbian schools is announced for Friday Aug. 31.
- Two days prior to the general strike (Aug. 29) at 10:00 am in Chroscicy, the Sorbian Committee delivers to the President of Land Parliament Mr. Erich Iltgen, a petition signed by 60.000 people.
- Sept. 4 the general strike of Sorbian schools is suspended. The obstinate stand of the Saxonian Government upholds it's decision of school closure by effecitvly forcing the 5th grade children to be relocated to another school, thus continuing with old discriminatory policies of dinationalization.
"DOMOWINA" Union of Lusatian Sorbs press releases:
OFFERS OF ASSISTANCE CAN ALSO BE ADDRESSED TO THE SORBIAN UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION:
Mr. Jan Nuk, President
"DOMOWINA" - Union of Lusatian Sorbs
Postowe Namesto 2
D-02625 Budysin (Bautzen)
TEL: +49- (0) 3591-550-1000355
FAX: +49- (0) 3591- 42408
ALSO IN LOWER LUSATIA TO:
Na peskach 114 b
D-03185 Hochoza (Drachhausen)
contact: Mr. Siegfried Malk