This article by Dr. Peter Barker first appeared in: Dislocation and Reorientation. Exile, Division and the End of Communism in German Culture and Politics, ed. Axel Goodbody, Pól Ó Dochartaigh Denis Tate, German Monitor No. 71, Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York, 2009, pp. 179-195.
This chapter will highlight three particular points in the post-war social development of Sorbian communities in Lusatia after the Second World War. It will firstly highlight the demographic and social changes which took place in Sorbian villages in both Upper and Lower Lusatia as a result of post-war migration into Lusatia in 1945-47. Secondly it will examine the effect of the industrialisation of Middle Lusatia from 1955 on Sorbian identity and culture. Many Sorbian villages were destroyed to make way for open-cast mining and its inhabitants relocated to nearby towns such as Weißwasser and Hoyerswerda. Sorbian identity suffered a dramatic decline as a result of resettlement into urban German-dominated environments. Finally it will look at the latest phase in the erosion of Sorbian identity post-1990 caused by the reduction in employment prospects in eastern Saxony and south-east Brandenburg. The last two points will be discussed in the context of ‘modernisation’ theory and the policy of the Catholic and Protestant Churches.Read More