The Herrnhut memoirs

“the Wendish brothers”. The Sorbian everyday life in the Herrnhut memoirs of the Eighteenth century. A collection of sources and documentation

Edited by Lubina Mahling

First page of Agnes Sauer's memoir, who died in Niesky in 1783. (Unitätsarchiv Herrnhut)
First page of Agnes Sauer’s memoir, who died in Niesky in 1783. (Unitätsarchiv Herrnhut)

The autobiographic memoirs of the “Unity of Brethren” from Herrnhut hold a great treasure for Sorbian historical research. They make the everyday life of the Sorbian population in Upper and Lower Lusatia in the Eighteenth century tangible. Whether reports about backwoods schools and years of service, experiences of war and diseases, servants’ and journeymen’s trips, reports about a soldier’s life or decisions to go to foreign countries as missionaries – the memoirs of the Sorbian members of the Unity contain a multitude of life plans and journeys through life. At the same time, they show the profound effect of pietism in Sorbian Lusatia. In this portal selected biographies of the Unity’s members of Sorbian origin or of those who lived and worked in the Sorbian diaspora are made accessible. With their variety of topics and voices they draw a wide panorama of Eighteenth century Lusatia beyond erudite discourses and bourgeois culture.

This will take you to the edited memoirs

Accompanying texts:



Lecture: Herrnhut and the Sorbs (recording of a public lecture, Bautzen 2022-11-24)