Edmund Pjech, Jan Skala, Life of Jan Skala Described with Special Emphasis on his Political and Journalistic Activity

Profesor Leszek Kuberski will be well remembered by the Lusatian Sorbs as an outstanding scholar in the field of Sorabistics and as Jan Skala’s biographer. In Skala’s biography he presented a background of European history during the first half of 20th century. After the defeat in the World War I, Germany found itself in completely different political landscape. These were the circumstances in which Skala and his allies tried to gain minority rights for the Lusatian Sorbs and make peace between Sorbian and German people. In December of 1919 he started to publish a newspaper called: „Serbski dźenik” which purpose was to recruit members for newly formed political party. Main aim on party’s agenda was to gain greater political and cultural autonomy for bilingual Lusatia. The dream of the Lusatian People’s Party was to secure a seat in the highest chamber of the German Parliament. It was, however, never fulfilled. This failure marked the end of the whole enterprise. The newspaper was shut down after publication of its 61st issue. However, the creation of their own political party was of ideological value for the Sorbs - especially when it became clear that the dreams of autonomy will be ultimately impossible to realize. Four years later Skala started to participate in another big-scale project - publishing a magazine for minorities established in 1924 by Minorities Association in Germany. Among its members were the Dunes, Northern Frisians, Lithuanians, Poles and Lusatian Sorbs. Skala’s aim was to enlarge the scope of cultural support for minorities in Germany - in the field of education, and within church organizations. To achieve this, he wrote many critical papers on persecution of minority languages, all of them were published in „Kulturwehr” magazine. At the beginning of 1930’ political climate in Germany became more acute. Main representatives of national minorities, Jan Skala among them, fund themselves under closer surveillance by the secret police. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Skala had to act even more carefully. National Socialistic policy regarding minorities was quite benign at the time. The situation changed in 1936. This was the year when Skala felt the repercussions of this change. On 3rd of March 1936 he was crossed out of the journalists’ register. As a result, he was forced to step down as „Kulturwehr’s” editor-in-chief.