Where are the Sorbs from?
During the great migration of peoples in the 6th century, many Slavic tribes left their original area between the Oder and Dnieper rivers. The old Sorbian tribes settled on a territory that was bordered by the Elbe and Saale in the west, by the low mountain ranges in the south, the rivers Oder, Bober and Queis in the east and an imaginary line Frankfurt/Oder – Köpenick – Magdeburg in the north. An estimated 300,000 people lived in an area that is now home to around 7 million people.
Sorbs or Wends?
Roman historians used the name V e n e d i (Veneti) to designate all the Slavic tribes they did not know in detail that had lived between the Carpathians and the Baltic Sea coast since the migration of peoples. Later, in Germany, all Slavs who settled in what later became East or Central Germany and in the Alpine countries were given the term Wenden or Winden, which was derived from this.
The Sorbs were first mentioned in 631 by the Franconian chronicler Fredegar. He chose the Latin form S u r b i – which comes from the Slavic proper name S e r b j a (Upper Sorbian) or S e r b y (Lower Sorbian).
Both terms, Wends and Sorbs, are used today by the Lower Sorbs in their self-designation whereas the Upper Sorbs only name themselves as Sorbs.
How many Sorbs are there in Germany?
Around 60,000 Sorbs live in Germany today, making them the smallest Slavic people. Of these, around 20,000 Lower Sorbs live in Lower Lusatia in Brandenburg and around 40,000 Upper Sorbs live in Upper Lusatia in Saxony.
Are all Sorbs Catholics?
The Catholic Sorbian Lusatia is a relatively closed area between Bautzen, Kamenz and Wittichenau. More than 10,000 Sorbian Catholics live in eight parishes in this geographical triangle. The daily colloquial language in families, schools, kindergartens and in public life is predominantly Sorbian. There are no longer any Protestant communities, primarily in Central and Lower Lusatia, with a majority of Sorbs. However, in almost all parishes there are Sorbian-speaking parishioners. Not all Sorbs are denominational.
Is Sorbian an official language?
The only official language in Germany is German. Of course, all Sorbs also speak German.