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Author: Subject: Lehmann, Cornelius: “Pan-Slav Agitators” or “Loyal Wends”? The Image of the Sorbs in the Imperial German Daily Press
mersiowsky
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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 09:01 PM
Lehmann, Cornelius: “Pan-Slav Agitators” or “Loyal Wends”? The Image of the Sorbs in the Imperial German Daily Press


Lětopis Abstract 2014 2: Lehmann, Cornelius: “Pan-Slav Agitators” or “Loyal Wends”? The Image of the Sorbs in the Imperial German Daily Press

The Lusatian Sorbs were given little attention in the Imperial German daily press compared to the Polish, French and Danish minorities. Between 1871 and 1914 they were only mentioned in passing, along with the Frisians, Cassubians or Lithuanians. Reports on the Sorbs only appeared in the local press, in rare cases also in the national press, on the occasion of singing festivals or other folkloric events. This provided an opportunity to express mostly Pan-Slav conspiracy theories. The Sorbian people were then portrayed as the ally of Russia and of the Poles or the Czechs.

But to assume that the image was an overwhelmingly negative one would be to give a false picture. After all, when there was national interest in the Sorbs, then the descriptions were overwhelmingly positive and supportive. It is true that they were not free from stereotypes; the Sorbian people was often portrayed by the German media as the “the minority loyal to the Empire,” and therefore presented as different from the Poles, French and Danes who were living in the Reich. In this connection the Sorbs were looked at less from a religious, linguistic or territorial point of view, unlike present-day research, but rather subdivided according to educational level. In this sense, those adherents of Pan-Slav conspiracy theories also saw the Sorbian rural majority as fighters for the people and the Fatherland, and Sorbian intellectuals (above all the clergy and teachers) as traitors to the Fatherland.
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