Society of Gottscheer Germans



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Društvo Kočevarjev staroselcev
Občice 9, SI-8350 Dolenjske Toplice
Phone386 (0) 7 366 4280

Founded in 1992, the Society of Gottscheer Germans aims to unite Gottscheer Germans living around Kočevje (Gottschee) in south east Slovenia, an area of around 860 square kilometres with 176 settlements and a capital at Kočevje/Gottschee which the Counts of Ortenburg colonised in the early 14th century by bringing in peasants from Carinthia and Eastern Tirol. The Society targets those Gottscheer Germans who did not emigrate in 1941, as well as their descendants and sympathisers, striving to preserve their linguistic, cultural, ethnic and architectural characteristics. The goal of the Society is the preservation of the old German dialect spoken from 1330 to 1941, and to encourage national affiliation and identity.

The Society organises a range of educational activities and cultural events in co-operation with similar associations (eg the Slovene Gottscheer Association Peter Kosler in Ljubljana and Mostovi-Freiheits Bruecke in Maribor) and with Slovene cultural institutions such as the Institute for Ethnic Studies. It issues the monthly bulletin Bakh ('The Path').

The Society has recently opened a 100-seat hall in the barn behind its premises and is currently developing a museum with financial assistance from the South Tiroler Provincial Government of Italy.

The Society's programme is financed mainly by the Republic of Austria and the government of Carinthia Province, but partly also by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia. The Society is also financed from donations and voluntary work of its members.