The Sorbian people call for right to ‘survive’

One of Germany’s minority communities claims to be receiving less and less support from the federal government · A conflict between Berlin and the states of Saxony and Brandenburg over funding is one of the main causes.

The Sorbs, a minority linguistic community living in an area corresponding approximately to the lands of Saxony and Brandenburg in the east of the German state, are seeking to raise awareness of their plight, due in no small part to a lack of resources. This week, a group of intellectuals have published a document entitled “Memorandum on the survival of the Sorbian people” [pdf] highlighting the “constant decrease in public funding” received by the Sorbian-speaking community, reports Minoranze Linguistiche.

According to the authors of the document, a conflict between the federal government and the two lands with Sorbian communities means that the 2008 budget is yet to be approved. It is “incomprehensible”, they say, “that a country as open to the world as the Federal Republic of Germany and one that has ratified all of the European treaties on the protection of minority rights should fail to protect the Sorbian people.” The authors call for an immediate solution to the conflict to be found.

The Sorbs are considered to be the autochthonous population of Lusatia, an area that was once far more extensive than the region in which the two Sorbian languages are spoken today. There are an estimated 85,000 speakers of Upper and Lower Sorbian, according to Mercator Legislation.


Further information: