Carinthian Slovenes

Carinthian Slovenes

Carinthian Slovenes ( _sl. Koroški Slovenci; _de. Kärntner Slowenen) are the Slovene-speaking population group in the Austrian State of Carinthia. The Carinthian Slovenes send representatives to the National Ethnic Groups Advisory Council. The status of the minority group is guaranteed in principle constitutionally and under international law.


Migration period

The Slovene language area was initially settled towards the end of the migration period by, among others, the western Slavs, and thereafter eventually by southern Slavs, who became the predominant group. A southern Slavonic informal language with western Slavonic influence arose. At the end of the migration period, a Slavic national proto-state called Carantania, the precursor of the later Duchy of Carinthia, arose; it extended far beyond the present area of the present state and its political centre is said to have lain in the Zollfeld.

Middle Ages and modern times

Under Charlemagne, Carantania became part of the Frankish Empire and, in consequence, of the Holy Roman Empire. As a result of this, German noble families became gradually prevalent, while the population remained Slovene. Finally, the Bavarii moved into Carinthia as settlers. They settled the hitherto sparsely populated areas, such as wooded regions and high valleys. Only here and there did this lead to the direct displacement of Slavs (the development to being Slovenians did not take place until later). However, a process of assimilation of Slovenes by Germans began. In the 19th century, about two thirds of the Carinthians had in this way become German speaking. Nevertheless, Klagenfurt, at this time a German city with Slovene surroundings, was the predominant Slovene city of learning.

19th and 20th centuries

With the emergence of the nationalist movement in the late Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, there was an acceleration in the process of assimilation; at the same time the conflict between national groups became more intense.

With the end of World War I the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs for a short time occupied the districts where the greater majority still used the Slovene language. Armed clashes followed and this issue also split the Slovene population. In the plebiscite zone in which the Slovene-speaking proportion of the population constituted about 70 per cent, 59 per cent of those who voted at the plebiscite voted to remain in Austria. In the run-up to the plebiscite the state government gave an assurance that it would promote and support the retention of Slovene culture. These conciliatory promises, in addition to economic and other reasons, led to about 40 per cent of the Slovenes living in the plebiscite zone voting to retain the unity of Carinthia. Voting patterns were, however, different by region; in many municipalities there were majorities who voted to become part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

As everywhere else in Europe, nationalism grew in the Interwar period. Promises made were broken, assimilation was forced by dividing the Slovenes into Slovenes and Windisch, even by denying that their language - a Slovene dialect with a large number of words borrowed from German - was Slovene at all. This culminated in targeted persecution in the Third Reich. Certainly it was possible to put oneself on good terms with the regime by professing to be Windisch with the associated promise to assimilate. At the same time, many Slovenes took part in Tito’s partisans’ resistance, and Yugoslav troops after the war again occupied parts of Carinthia including its capital city, Klagenfurt, but withdrew under pressure from the British forces. In view of this extreme development on both sides, the atmosphere between the two national groups was extremely tense after the Second World War and the Slovene language continued to retreat steadily despite the fact that in the mixed-language areas every schoolchild now had to undergo bilingual instruction. Because of this, however, members of German speaking families were counted among the numbers of Slovene Carinthians in publications from by Communist Ljubljana, which then caused such families to deny their knowledge of the Slovene dalect so that every-day communication in this Slovene dialect between the ethnic groups ceased.

On 15 May 1955 the Austrian State Treaty was signed, in Article 7 of which the “rights of the Slovene and Croat minorities” in Austria were regulated. In 1975 the electoral grouping of the Slovene national group (Enotna Lista) only just failed to gain entry to the state assembly. With the argument that in elections the population should vote for the political parties rather than according to their ethnic allegiance, before the next elections in 1979 the originally single constituency of Carinthia was divided into four constituencies. The area of settlement of the Carinthian Slovenes was divided up and these parts were in turn combined with purely German-speaking parts of the province. In the new constituencies the Slovene-speaking proportion of the population was reduced in such a way that it was no longer possible for the representatives of national minorities to succeed in getting into the state assmebly. The Austrian Centre for Ethnic Groups and representatives of the Carinthian Slovenes saw in this way of proceeding the successful attempt to reduce the political influence of the Slovene-speaking national minority group.

In the 1970s the situation again escalated in the so-called dispute over bilingual place-name signs, but thereafter became less tense. [ [ "Will Carinthia Remain German?"] ] However, continuing up to the present, individual statements by Slovene politicians are interpreted by parts of the German-speaking population as Slovene territorial claims, and they therefore regard the territorial integrity of Carinthia as still not being guaranteed. This interpretation is rejected both by the Slovene government and by the organisations representing the interests of the Carinthian Slovenes. The territorial integrity of Carinthia and its remaining part of Austria are said not to be placed in question at all.

Current developments

Since the 1990s a growing interest in Slovene on the part of German-speaking Carinthians has been perceptible, but this could turn out to be too late in view of the increase in the proportion of elderly people. The success of Jörg Haider (the governor of Carinthia since 1999) in making a political issue out of the dispute over bilingual place-name signs shows that the conflict is, as before, still present.

Area of settlement and proportion of the population



The Carinthian dialect branch of Slovene ("koroško") extends beyond the present borders of Carinthia. It is spoken in the bilingual areas that until 1918 formed the Duchy of Carinthia (i.e. in addition to the present State of Carinthia, the upper Kanaltal around Tarvisio as well as the Mežiška Valley in Slovenia). Additionally, the Carinthian-Slovene form of dialect is spoken in Rateče (known in German as Ratschach) in Slovenia very near the border with Italy, a locality of the Oberkrain (Gorenjska), as well as along the upper Drava river in Lower Styria. It can be divided into sub-dialects spoken in the Jauntal, Rosental, and Gailtal.

The Obir dialect, which is influenced by the dialect of the Gorenjska, can be regarded as a subgroup of the Jauntal dialect. The Carinthian dialects are particularly unadulterated. In the present German-speaking areas the Slavonic basis of place and pasture names as far as into the upper part of the Möll river valley can be demonstrated. German and Slovene have in any case exercised a reciprocal influence in tone and vocabulary on each other in the course of the centuries.

("See also": Slovenian dialects.)

The term Windisch

The description "Windisch" was originally applied in the German-speaking area to all Slavonic languages and in particular in to the Slovene language southern Austria . The term is still used in part (predominantly by German nationalist circles) as an overall term for Slovene dialects spoken in Carinthia. However, because of the historical associations of the term, “a German word with pejorative overtones”, [Dictionary of Languages, Andrew Dalby, first edition, Bloomsbury, London, 1999, ISBN 0747531188, p. 567] it is rejected by a large part of the Carinthian Slovene population. In censuses Windisch is counted in addition to Slovene as a separate language category. An interesting point is, that it is being revived by certain Slovene groups in Slovenia and elsewhere through the Veneti theory.

Literature after the Second World War

In early 1981 the novel "Der Zögling Tjaž" by Florjan Lipuš appeared in a German translation by Peter Handke, which led to Handke being described by the "Wiener Extrablatt" as "Article 7 personified" for this literary achievement. In addition to Lipuš, Handke later translated Gustav Januš. However, Slovene literature in Carinthia is made up not only of Januš and Lipuš, but also a number of other authors. Mirko Kumer, Kristo Srienc and Valentin Polanšek are part of the tradition, but in addition to Lipuš, Janko Messner is part of a small, more innovative group that is nevertheless committed to the literary tradition. Lipus himself has developed into an outstanding belletrist. Younger prose authors include Jože Blajs, Martin Kuchling, Kristijan Močilnik and the internationally known Janko Ferk. There is a considerable number of lyric poets, Milka Hartman being outstanding. Anton Kuchling is part of this generation. Gustav Januš and Andrej Kokot, as well as those lyric poets not currently writing, namely Erik Prunč and Karel Smolle, form the next generation. A group including Janko Ferk, Maja Haderlap, Franc Merkac, Jani Oswald, Vincenc Gotthardt, Fabjan Hafner and Cvetka Lipuš that formed itself predominantly around the literary periodical "Mladje" (Youth) follows these lyric poets. Rezka Kanzian and Tim O. Wüster, whose works have not (as of 2006) appeared in books of their own, are part of the youngest generation. Slovenian literature in Carinthia since the Second World War has displayed a clear will to live; in the 2000s it is an emancipated literature free from provincialism. Johann (Janez) Strutz in particular has rendered outstanding services to the literature of the Carinthian Slovenes from the point of view of the sociology, theory and history of literature. His book "Profile der neuen slowenischen Literatur in Kärnten" (“Profiles of modern Slovene literature in Carinthia”), published in 1998 in a revised and extended edition, is a much respected standard work.

Educational system

In 1848 the Ministry of Education decreed that compulsory school pupils should be taught in their respective native language. The efforts of German nationalist forces in Carinthia to change this regulation were unsuccessful until the end of the 1860s. Between 1855 and 1869 the Slovene compulsory school system lay in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church, which was traditionally friendly to the Slovenes. From 1869 there was a major alteration in the instructions regarding the use of the native language in teaching, resulting from the Imperial law on state schools, as from this time the authority maintaining the school could lay down the language of instruction. This led to a large proportion of the compulsory schools being converted into so-called utraquist schools, in which Slovene was regarded as an auxiliary language to be used in teaching only until the pupils had acquired an adequate command of icon Amt der Kärntner Landesregierung - Volksgruppenbüro (Hrsg.), "Die Kärntner Slowenen", 2003] Only a few schools remained purely Slovene (In 1914: St Jakob in Rosental, St Michael ob Bleiburg and Zell Parish)de icon Heinz Dieter Pohl, " [ Die ethnisch-sprachlichen Voraussetzungen der Volksabstimmung] " (Accessed on 3 August 2006)] . The utraquist form of school remained in existence until 1941. This school system was rejected by the Slovene national minority as an “instrument of Germanisation”.

On 3 October 1945 a new law on schools that envisaged a bilingual education for all children in the traditional area of settlement of Carinthian Slovenes, regardless of the ethnic group to which they belonged, was passed.C. Bratt Paulston and D. Peckham (eds.) "Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe", 1998, p. 32 f., ISBN 1853594164] Bilingual education took place in the first three school years, after which Slovene was a compulsory subject. After the signing of the State Treaty in 1955 and the solution of the hitherto open question of the course of the Austrian–Yugoslav border that was implicitly associated with this, there were protests against this model, culminating in 1958 in a school strike. As a result of this development, the state governor (Landeshauptmann), Ferdinand Wedenig, issued a decree in September 1958 that made it possible for parents or guardians to deregister their children from bilingual teaching. In March 1959 the educational system was again altered to the effect that henceforth pupils had to register explicitly for bilingual education. As a result of what in effect was an associated compulsion to declare one’s allegiance to a ethnic minority, the numbers of pupils in the bilingual system sank considerably. In 1958 only 20.88 per cent, and in the 1970s only 13.9 per cent, of bilingual pupils registered for German–Slovene teaching. The minorities’ school law that was altered in the course of a three-party agreement (SPÖ (Social Democratic Party of Austria), ÖVP (Austrian People's Party), and FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) that envisaged a far-reaching separation on the basis of classes of primary school pupils into those taught bilingually and those taught only in German. The issue of whether headteachers of bilingual schools must be able to produce a bilingual qualification remains controversial.

An extension of what is being offered by schools is faced with the general development in the bilingual education system that has been described and that is viewed critically by Slovene organisations In 1957 the federal grammar school and federal secondary school for Slovenes (Bundesgymnasium and Bundesrealgymnasium für Slowenen/Zvezna gimnazija in Zvezna realna gimnazija za Slovence) was founded, in whose building the bilingual federal commercial school (Zweisprachige Bundeshandelsakademie/Dvojezična zvezna trgovska akademija) has also been accommodated since 1991. Since 1989 there has been a secondary school (Höhere Lehranstalt) operated by the Roman-Catholic Church in St Peter in Rosental (municipality of St Jakob). Following a decision by the Constitutional Court, school pupils in Klagenfurt are able to attend a public-funded bilingual primary school, in addition to the one operated by the Church. As a result of a private initiative, the Slovene music school (Kärntner Musikschule/Glasbena šola na koroškem) was founded in 1984 and has received public funds since 1998 when a co-operation agreement was concluded with the State of Carinthia. However, the amount of this financial support (in relation to the number of pupils) contravenes the law on equality of treatment in the view of the Austrian National Minorities Centre, as the other operator in the Carinthian music school system, the Musikschulwerk, receives, on a per capita basis, a higher amount. [de icon [ Bericht des Österreichischen Volksgruppenzentrums zur Durchführung des Europäischen Rahmenübereinkommens zum Schutz nationaler Minderheiten in der Republik Österreich] Teil II (Accessed on 3 August 2006)] The Glasbena šola is able to continue its operations, however, with the help of contributions from the Republic of Slovenia.

An increased interest by people in South Carinthia in bilingual education has been generally perceptible since the 1990s. In the school year 2007/08, 41 per cent of the pupils in primary schools in the area in which the minority school system applied were registered for bilingual teaching – the proportion of children without previous knowledge of Slovene amounted to over 50 per cent. [ de icon [ Bilingual education is booming] (Accessed on 13 October 2007)]

Civil society institutions

The Slovene minority in Carinthia has a well developed network of civil society institutions. The main, so-called "umbrella organizations" are National Council of Carinthian Slovenes ("Narodni svet koroških Slovencev - Rat der Kärntner Slowenen"), representing Christian and conservative views, and the Association of Slovenian Organisations ("Zveza slovenskih organizacij - Zentralverband slowenischer Organisationen"), closer to left-wing and liberal policies. The main political association is the Koroška enotna lista ("Kärntner Einheitsliste"), a joint political platform that runs at local elections. Other important organizations include:

*Krščanska kulturna zveza (Christlicher Kulturverband) – Christian Cultural Association
*Slovenska prosvetna zveza (Slowenischer Kulturverband) – Slovene Cultural Association
*Slovenska gospodarska zveza (Slowenischer Wirtschaftsverband) – Slovene Economic Organisation
*Skupnost južnokoroških kmetov (Gemeinschaft der Südkärntner Bauern) – Community of South Carinthian Farmers
*Slovenska planinska Družba (Alpenverein der Kärntner Slowenen) – Alpine Climbing Club of Carinthian Slovenes
*Slovenski atletski klub (Slowenischer Athletikklub) – Slovene Athletic Club
*Koroška dijaška zveza (Slowenischer Studenten Verband) – Slovene Students’ Association


*"Nedelja" – Slovene-language weekly newspaper of the diocese of Gurk
* [ "Novice"] – Slovene-language weekly news-sheet
*Mohorjeva družba-Hermagoras – Catholic bilingual publisher (Klagenfurt)
* [ Drava Verlag] – bilingual publisher (Klagenfurt)


The Christian cultural association and the National Council of Carinthian Slovenes have endowed an annual award, the Einspieler prize (named after the founder of the Hermagoras Society Publishing House, Andrej Einspieler), to individuals who have rendered outstanding services to the cause of co-existence. The prize has been awarded to, among others, the industrialist Herbert Liaunig, Bolzano-Bozen governor Luis Durnwalder, and professor of general and diachronic linguistics at the University of Klagenfurt Heinz Dieter Pohl, scholar and professor at the Central European University Anton Pelinka Roman Catholic prelate Egon Kapellari, Austrian politician Rudolf Kirchschläger and others.

Notable Carinthian Slovenians

*Matija Ahacel - philologian, publicist, collector of folk songs (1779-1845)
*Miha Andreaš - folk poet (1762-1821)
*Lambert Ehrlich - theologian, ethnologist and political activist (1878-1942)
*Andrej Einspieler - priest, author and politician (1813–1888)
*Fran Eller - poet (1873–1956)
*Janko Ferk – judge and writer (b. 1958)
*Ivan Grafenauer - literary critic and ethnologist (1880–1964)
*Ožbalt Gutsman - author and philologist (1727-1790)
*Marko Hanžič - Jesuit historian (1683-1766)
*Milka Hartmann (1902-1997), poet
*Valentin Inzko - diplomat (b. 1949)
*Anton Janežič - philologist (1828–1869)
*Gustav Januš - poet (b. 1939)
*Urban Jarnik - ethnographer (1784–1844)
*Franc Kattnig – publisher and cultural official (b. 1945)
*Martin Kušej – theatre and opera director (b. 1961)
*Cvetka Lipuš - poet (b. 1966)
*Florjan Lipuš – writer and translator (b. 1937)
*Matija Majar - priest, philologist, ethnographer and political activist, author of the United Slovenia program (1809–1892)
*Mimi Malenšek - writer (b. 1919)
*Janko Messner – writer (b. 1921)
*Mirko Messner – politician (b. 1948)
*Andreas Moritsch - historian
*Valentin Oman – artist (b. 1935)
*Franc Petek - politician (1885-1965)
*Wolfgang Petritsch – diplomat, former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (b. 1947)
*Erik Prunč – professor at the University of Graz (b. 1941)
*Gregorij Rožman - Bishop of Ljubljana (1883–1959)
*Janez Strutz – professor at the University of Klagenfurt (b. 1949)
*Andrej Šuster Drabosnjak - folk poet (1768–1825)
*Jožef Stefan – mathematician and physicist (1835–1893)
*Joško Tischler - politician (1902-1979)
*Rudi Vouk - lawyer, political activist
*Peter Wrolich – racing cyclist (b. 1974)

Personalities of Carinthian Slovene ancestry

*Bogo Grafenauer - Slovenian historian (1915-1995; Carinthian Slovene parents)
*Peter Handke – writer (b. 1942; Carinthian Slovene mother)
*Ciril Kotnik - Yugoslav diplomat, antifascist hero (1895–1948; Carinthian Slovene parents)
*Julius Kugy - Italo-Slovenian alpinist and writer (1858–1944; Carinthian Slovene father)
*Joseph Friedrich Perkonig - Austrian writer and translator (1890–1959; Carinthian Slovene parents)
*Ursula Plassnik - Austrian foreign minister (b. 1956; Carinthian Slovene grandfather)
*Kurt Schuschnigg - Austrian chancellor (1897–1977; Carinthian Slovene grandfather)
*Walter Veltroni - Mayor of Rome (b. 1955; Carinthian Slovene great-grandfather)
*Ferdinand Wedenig - governor of Carinthia (1896–1975; Carinthian Slovene parents)
*Fran Zwitter - Slovenian historian (1905-1988; Carinthian Slovene parents)

ee also

*Slovene Lands
*Demographics of Austria
*Burgenland Croats
*Kärntner Heimatdienst
*Jörg Haider
*Duke's Chair
*Black panther (symbol)


*de icon Amt der Kärntner Landesregierung – Volksgruppenbüro (Hrsg.), Die Kärntner Slowenen, 2003
*de icon [ Heinz Dieter Pohl, Die ethnisch-sprachlichen Voraussetzungen der Volksabstimmung]
* Bratt Paulston and D. Peckham (eds.) ‘‘Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe’’, 1998, p. 32 ff., Clevedon (UK), Multilingual Matters, ISBN 1-85359-416-4.
*de icon [ Bericht des Österreichischen Volksgruppenzentrums zur Durchführung des Europäischen Rahmenübereinkommens zum Schutz nationaler Minderheiten in der Republik Österreich Teil II] (Accessed on 3 August 2006)
*de icon [ Volksgruppenarchiv des ORF Kärnten] (Accessed on 3 August 2006)


*de icon Albert F. Reiterer: ‘‘Kärntner Slowenen: Minderheit oder Elite? Neuere Tendenzen der ethnischen Arbeitsteilung.’’ Drava Verlag/Založba Drava, Klagenfurt 1996, ISBN 3-85435-252-2
*de icon Andreas Moritsch (Hrsg.): ‘‘Kärntner Slovenen/Koroški Slovenci 1900-2000’’ Hermagoras/Mohorjeva, Klagenfurt 2003 ISBN 3-85013-753-8
*de icon Johann Strutz: "Profile der neuen slowenischen Literatur in Kärnten", by Hermagoras Verlag, Klagenfurt, 1998, ISBN 3-85013-524-1

External links


*de icon/sl icon [ Volksgruppenbüros des Landes Kärnten]
*de icon [ Kärntner Einheitsliste]
*de icon [ Rat der Kärntner Slowenen]
*de icon [ Zentralverband slowenischer Organisationen]
*de icon [ Interview with the former chairman of the Rat der Kärntner Slowenen, Bernhard Sadovnik]

Culture and History

*de icon [ Dokumentation des ORF Kärnten über die Kärntner Slowenen von 1945 bis heute] (.wmv - 15 minutes)
*de icon [ Slawisches Österreich – Geschichte und Gegenwart der Minderheiten, Die Slowenen in Kärnten] (pdf)
*de icon [ Broschüre über die Geschichte und aktuelle Lage der Kärntner Slowenen] (pdf)
*de icon [ Die Lyrik der Kärntner Slowenen im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert - von Janko Ferk]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Slovenes — Infobox Ethnic group group=Slovenes/Slovenians ( sl. Slovenci) population= 2.5 million (est.)cite web |url=http://www.zrc |title=Ethnic Structure of Slovenia and Slovenes in Neighbouring Countries |work=Slovenia: a… …   Wikipedia

  • Carinthian Plebiscite — The Carinthian Plebiscite (German: Kärntner Volksabstimmung , Slovene: Koroški plebiscit ) on October 10, 1920 determined the final border between Austria and the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) after World… …   Wikipedia

  • Carinthia (state) — Carinthia Kärnten Koroška   State of Austria   …   Wikipedia

  • History of Slovenia — This article is part of a series Noricum/ …   Wikipedia

  • Duchy of Carinthia — Herzogtum Kärnten (de) Vojvodina Koroška (sl) State of the Holy Roman Empire (until 1806), constituent land of the Austrian Empire and Cisleithanian crown land of Austria Hungary …   Wikipedia

  • Jörg Haider — Infobox Officeholder name = Jörg Haider imagesize = 200 px small caption = Haider in 2007 order = Governor of Carinthia term start = 1999 term end = 2008 predecessor = Christoph Zernatto successor = Gerhard Dörfler (Acting) term start2 = 1989… …   Wikipedia

  • Andrej Einspieler — (13 November 1813 16 January 1888) was a Slovene politician, Roman Catholic priest and publicist, and one of the early leaders of the Slovene national movement in the 19th century. He was known as the father of the Carinthian Slovenes .Einspieler …   Wikipedia

  • Slovenia — Infobox Country native name = Republika Slovenija conventional long name = Republic of Slovenia common name = Slovenia map caption = map caption|location color=dark green|country=Slovenia|region=Europe|region color=dark grey|subregion=the… …   Wikipedia

  • Slovene dialects — Map of regional groups of Slovene dialects   Upper Carniolan …   Wikipedia

  • Carinthia —    Carinthia is the southernmost province of modern Austria, with a current population of around 550,000. Its name apparently is reminiscent of a Slavic tribe, the Karantaner, one among several who inhabited the area during and after the eighth… …   Historical dictionary of Austria

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”