Preservation of a Dying Culture: A Study of Sorbian/Wendish Poetry

  • Samantha Hunt


This research outlines the history and culture of the Texas Wends.
The Wends are a Slavic group that originated in East Germany and
immigrated to the United States in order to preserve heritage. They
are bilingual, speaking both German and the Wendish language. The
history and culture of the Wendish people have rarely been studied
outside of Germany, and only a small amount of their literature has
been translated into English. Due to the interaction with both German
and American cultures, the Wendish language and culture have nearly
disappeared in Texas and Germany. One common way that Wendish
culture has been expressed is poetry. This research outlines how Wendish
poems are sites where ideas important to the Wendish culture can be
registered. Primarily, I uncovered ideas relating to religious faith and
culture, which are extensively discussed in Wendish poetry. Moreover,
my work shows how translating these poems, makes Wendish poetry
accessible to English-speaking audiences, thereby, preserving Wendish
culture for a new audience.