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FROM 22.9.22



The Slavic tribes living east of the Rivers Elbe and Saale came into the German sphere of influence in the Early Middle Ages. They constitute one of the roots of the present-day population of Germany. Only in Lusatia (Łužyca/Łužica/Lausitz) have the Sorbian/Wendish people been able to preserve two variants of their otherwise vanished Slavic language and develop them into modern, written languages: Lower Sorbian (Niedersorbisch/Dolnoserbšćina) or Wendish in Brandenburg, and Upper Sorbian (Obersorbisch/Hornjoserbšćina) in Saxony. Despite a national recovery that began in the 19th century, conflict awaited the Sorbian people in the 20th. Following the National Socialist ban on Sorbian languages and associations, the German Democratic Republic – although according minority protection to the Sorbians – eroded the substance of Lusatia through open-cast lignite mining, the collectivisation of agriculture and mass inward migration. Key issues today are the extension of the public use of Sorbian and securing native-language teaching in schools.