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In Winter, Old German Tradition Celebrates Bird Mating Season

Friday 26 January 2018 at 5:15 pm

The following article by Gary Clark (Texasbirder@comcast.net) was first published in the Houston Chronicle Star on Saturday, January 20, 2018 and is reprinted here with the author’s permission.

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The Origin of the Slavs by Prof. M. Zaborowski

Wednesday 17 January 2018 at 11:46 pm

This article by M. Zaborowski first appeared as an abstract in The Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution on 30 Jun 1906. It is presented here as one of the article that Anna Blasig used in writing her book, The Wends of Texas.

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Autochthonism of the Wends or Serbo-Lusatians

Wednesday 17 January 2018 at 01:14 am

This article by the Reverend Francis Domanski, S. J. first appeared in the Bulletin of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America in July 1944.

Authochthonism - the state of being aboriginal or native to a particular area.

AUTOCHTHONISM OF THE WENDS or SORBO-LUSATIANS

By the Rev. Francis Domanski, S. J.

Durch die Ortsnamen, die ältesten und dauerndsten Denkmäler, erzählt eine vergangene Nation gleichsam selbst eigene Schicksale, and es jägt sick nur, ob ihre Stimme uns noch verständhch bleibt” - Topographic names reveal the history of most ancient and most lasting monuments as well as of peoples lost sight of in dawn of history; we need only to inquire whether their voice is still comprehensible. Wilhelm von Humboldt

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The Sorbs of Lusatia by Sorabicus

Monday 15 January 2018 at 7:56 pm

This article by Sorabicus first appeared in Slavonic Review, XIV, (April 1936,) pages 616-621. It is being presented here because it was one of the sources of material that Anna Blasig used in writing her book, The Wends of Texas.

For a discussion of Sorabicus and the historical context for the publication of the article see the following excerpts from page 294 and 315 of Slav Outposts in Central European History by Gerald Stone:

"In the Weimar Republic all the national minorities organized themselves into associations for self-preservation. The Poles had their Union of Poles in Germany (Związek Polaków w Niemczech) and this organization proposed the foundation of a Federation of National Minorities in Germany (Verband der nationalen Minderheiten in Deutschland), standing for the interests of the Danish, Friesian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Wendish minorities and publishing its own journal called first Kulturwille and later Kulturwehr. For the whole life of this journal (1925-1936), its editor-in-chief was Jan Skala (1889-1945), a Catholic Wend from Nebelschütz. He was an important figure, not only for the Wends but for the other minorities too. By the time he took over Kulturwille, Skala was already an experienced journalist and an irritation to the authorities. In 1928, when he was sued for defamation, he protested, though without success, against the denial of his right to use his native language in court, as guaranteed by Article 113 of the Constitution.

" the Nazis came to power in January 1933, the minorities faced new dangers. In the columns of Kulturwehr Skala continued to resist oppressive policies. In May that year the first of many searches of his home were made by the police and much of his correspondence was confiscated. When, in September 1935, he received a letter from the Minister of Propaganda (Joseph Goebells) threatening him with imprisonment for criticizing officials, he replied by requesting not only that the threat be withdrawn but also that the cause of his criticism be remedied. The same year he exposed in his journal the true meaning of the Nuremberg Laws. In March 1936 Skala was banned from engaging in any further journalistic activity even under a pseudonym. That meant the end of his career and of Kulturwehr. Unemployed and impoverished, he continued the struggle by publishing anonymously abroad. He published an article in London in the Slavonic and East European Review under the pseudonym Sorabicus, drawing attention to the plight of the Wends. Eventually, in January 1938, at the age of 48, he was arrested and taken to the Gestapo prison in Dresden to be interrogated. When he was released nine months later, he was suffering from deafness caused by rough treatment. He returned to his family in Berlin, where he found menial work (Kroh 2009: passim).

"In 1943, made homeless by the bombing of Berlin, the family of Jan Skala moved to. Silesia and by 1945 they were living there in a village then called Erbenfeld (until 1939 Dzieditz, now Dziedzice), which was taken by Soviet forces on 19 January. The German population had fled, leaving only a few Poles and the Skalas to welcome the liberators. Skala had every reason to believe that his anti-Fascist credentials would stand him in good stead, but on 22 January, a drunken Soviet soldier entered the Skalas' kitchen and threatened them with his sub-machine gun. Skala, speaking Russian, tried to calm him, but the soldier fired an indiscriminate burst and Skala fell dead. Skala's two daughters and his eleven-month-old grandson were unharmed.

"To the new authorities who subsequently emerged in the GDR, Skala's fate was a cause of embarrassment. They honored him as an anti-Fascist and a victim of the Gestapo, but the circumstances of his death did not fit their rose-tinted vision of the liberation. The only acceptable formula to describe his death was the equivocal 'perished in a tragic way following the arrival of the Soviet Army' (NBS, s.v.). Only in 2009 was the truth revealed when Peter Kroh, who at the age of eleven months had been present at his grandfather's death, published the above version of events, as related to him by his mother (Kroh 2009: 307-8)."

For more about Jan Skala see the book published in Berlin in 2009 by Peter Jan Joachim Kroh, Nationalistische Macht und nationale Minderheit, Jan Skala (1889-1945): ein Sorbe in Deutschland.

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The Remnant Of A Great Race by Henry W. Wolff

Monday 15 January 2018 at 02:38 am

This article first appeared in 1892 in Westminster Review, Vol. 137, pgs 538-556. It also appeard in 1894 in Odd Bits of History: Being Short Chapters Intended to Fill Some Blanks by Henry W. Wolff.

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