The German Book and the Wendish Pamphlet Cover Image
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Deutsches Buch und wendisches Heftchen
The German Book and the Wendish Pamphlet

Author(s): Robert Langer
Subject(s): History
Published by: Domowina-Verlag GmbH / Ludowe nakładnistwo Domowina
Keywords: Staatliche Kreisfachstelle für Volksbüchereiwesen; Drittes Reich; Büchereiwesen; Gleichschaltung; Nationalsozialismus; Literatur; Kurt Marx; Bibliothek; wendische Literatur; sorbische Literatur

Summary/Abstract: The history of the State District Office for Libraries in Bautzen (1928–1946) clearly reflects the regional political events of the first part of the 20th Century. The German Reich possessed with Upper Lusatia an external frontier to Czechoslovakia and an internal frontier to the Wendish area, still today a bilingual area of Lusatia, and was therefore in two senses frontier territory. The official task and personal ambition of the head of the district office, Kurt Marx, was to promote the German language and cultural heritage in the Wendish villages of the district of Bautzen; this aim was of necessity accompanied by the repression of the Wendish language. He ensured that during the Nazi period all Wendish/Sorbian literature was removed from the school and local libraries of Saxon Upper Lusatia, along with all officially banned literature. Marx saw this as an important step in the battle for a German culture, which would only tolerate the Wends, if they declared themselves to be loyal citizens of the German state and its culture. He regarded state education as a means to force Wends to become part of the nation, by which he meant the German nation. He used state funds to build up the libraries and contacts to the state administration with its ‘Wend Department’ to achieve his goal at an official level. As a result, the battle for the German book turned into a battle against Wendish.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 3-20
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: German