ELL: Cutback of Budget for Sorbian Foundation

Hj.Sasse at UNI-KOELN.DE Hj.Sasse at UNI-KOELN.DE
Tue May 23 03:36:41 UTC 2000

The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany is going to
cut the financial support for the "Foundation for the Sorbian people",
institution by which a substantial part of the cultural activities of
the Sorbian
minority in Germany is financed. In reaction, the GBS (the German
Association for
Endangered Languages) is sending the following letter to the German
and a number of other officials involved in the affair:

Dear Sir!

The "Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Sprachen" ("Association for
Endangered Languages") was most perturbed to learn that the
Government of the Federal Republic of Germany is planning to
cut the financial support for the "Stiftung fuer das
sorbische Volk" ("Foundation for the Sorbian people") in the
year 2001 by one million DM, and by a further 500.000 DM
in each of the years 2002 and 2003. Given the financial
situation and the economic difficulties of the states of
Saxony and Brandenburg it seems rather unlikely that these
federal states will be in a position to cover this loss in
the budget of the "Stiftung". Thus, the danger is
immanent that a substantial part of the cultural and
scientific activities by, and on behalf of, the Sorbian
people will have to be abandoned due to the lack of funds.
        Even though we recognize the present need for
thriftiness, we call upon the Federal Government to continue
the financial support of the "Stiftung" at its present
level. The Sorbian people represent a unique cultural and
linguistic minority within the boundaries of the Federal
Republic of Germany. The Federal government and the
governments of the states of Saxony and Brandenburg have so
far acknowledged their special responsibility for this small
group of Slavonic people, as is demonstrated by their
financial support of the "Stiftung" since the German
reunion. Without this support, however, the Sorbian people
will be in a situation in which not only their culture but
also their language - which has been an endangered language
within Germany for a long time - is doomed to die. The
ongoing loss of minority languages and the loss of cultural
diversity accompanying this loss is one of the severest
cultural and intellectual problems of our time. As a society
that aims at the preservation and documentation of
endangered languages, we appeal to the German government and
to the governments of Saxony and Brandenburg to do
everything possible to continue the financial support of the
"Stiftung fuer das sorbische Volk" at its present level and
thus to safeguard the linguistic and cultural identity of
the Sorbian people.

Signed by:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Juergen Sasse (President)
Dr. Anke Beck, Dr. Werner Drossard, Prof. Dr. Otto Jastrow, Dagmar
Jung Ph.D., Eva Schultz-Berndt, M.A., Prof. Dr. Gunter Senft (managing

Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Sprachen
Institut fuer Sprachwissenschaft
Universitaet zu Koeln
D-50923 Koeln
gbs at uni-koeln.de

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