BONN — An obscure group of Slavic-speakers who escaped centuries of repression in their forested homeland have earned a special place in the German unification treaty signed Friday.
The Sorbs, who number about 100,000 and live in East Germany's Spree Forest, asked for legal protection of their unique culture and got it.
"The preservation and continuation of Sorb culture and of Sorb traditions will be guaranteed. Members of the Sorb people have the freedom to preserve their language in public life," states one part of the treaty.
The Sorbs are natives of a remote swath of East Germany stretching 56 miles north of the Czechoslovak border. Centuries ago, their marshy, wooded homeland was called Lusatia.