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  • Author: Sandra Kreisslová x
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Abstract

Language preservation is considered to be one of the central missions of ethnic groups. For the German minority in the Czech Republic too, language plays an important role in group identity. Its current language situation is a result of the negative historic developments after World War II and under the communist regime. Due to the forced resettlement of most German-speaking inhabitants and the subsequent assimilation policies of the communist regime, the German community underwent strong cultural and language assimilation, which is also attested by the steady decline of its membership. The study focuses on issues of the language situation of the German minority and the revitalization efforts that have been undertaken by its elite in cooperation with other relevant institutions. A research survey of the main representatives of the minority and its regional associations demonstrates their evaluations of the ways in which German language is currently used and promoted in the Czech Republic, and it also points to the different strategies they have been striving to implement to reverse the language shift.

Abstract

The study deals with the transmission of family memory in three three-generation families of Germans forcibly displaced from Czechoslovakia, in which the oldest generation, the so-called generation of experience, actually experienced the migration movement after the end of World War II. In the study, the family is seen as a specific social framework in which the past is retrieved. Generations are characterized in a biological sequence, with only the oldest “generation of experience” defined by Karl Mannheim. The research of generational family memory focuses on the actor’s reception through an analysis and interpretation of narrative and oral-history interviews with representatives of generations while exploring the way family memory is mediated. Specifically, the authors inquire into the role the memory media play in their materialised form, i.e. artefacts that act as an impulse and source of remembrance narrative, in the process of generational transmission of memories in families. The focus here is on remembrance narratives related to the forced displacement, which thematise material artefacts, with the focus being not only on what artefacts there are in connection with the recollection of this historical process and what stories are related to them, but also the effort to uncover the meaning and the function of these artefacts during family remembrance.