The Lusatian Sorbs

The Sorbian people today consists of around 60,000 people. All live in Germany: in Upper Lusatia (Free State of Saxony), where they are known as Upper Sorbs, and in Lower Lusatia (State of Brandenburg), where they are known as Lower Sorbs/Wends.

The Sorbs, who were originally Slavic tribes living northeast of the Carpathian Mountains, migrated into the region between the Baltic Sea and the Erzgebirge about 1,500 years ago. They were able to preserve and develop their cultural identity to some extent in Lusatia over the centuries – interrupted by, among other things, the policies of the National Socialists. There are two Sorbian languages: Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian/Wendish, both of which are still spoken today in many families and everyday situations. However, Lower Sorbian/Wendish in particular is threatened with extinction.

Besides the name “Sorbs”, the older term “Wends” is also in official use, particularly in Brandenburg. This name dates back to the works of Roman historians, who referred to unknown tribes in the east as “Veneti”, a word that then evolved into the German “Wenden”.

Domowina – Federation of Lusation Sorbs, based in Bautzen, was founded in 1912 and has since been the politically independent umbrella organisation of the Sorbian associations. (13 associations and 5 regional federations).

> Minority-specific regulations