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The Bohemian Exiles in Dresden. Immigration and Immigration Policies Between Territorial Souvereignty and Urban Self Government

Researcher: Frank Metasch
Project Period: 2003 - 2006

A large number of the protestants who were driven out of Bohemia during the Habsburg Counter Reformation emigrated into the neighboring country of Saxony. Between the begin of the emigration (1620) and the Tolerance Patent of Emperor Josef II (1781), an estimated 50 000 to 80 000 exiles settled in the Electorate of Saxony and the Margraviate Oberlausitz. With this, the Saxon Residence Dresden, because of its special attraction, developed into one of the main immigration centers.

For the first time, this project will have a closer look into the immigration of the Bohemian exiles under a quantitative as well as qualitative aspect. The focus will be on the 17th century. Next to questions arising from the legal, economic and social integration of the immigrants, the tense relationship between the territorial and urban immigration policy will be addressed. Here, not only the conflicts arising will be analyzed, but also forms of cooperation and solidarity, e.g. by the preparedness to accept immigrants out of „Christian compassion“.

The total immigration will be differentiated depending on the individual waves of immigration, and a special focus will be put on their respective specific characteristics (like quantity and social structure of the exiles). In addition, the difficulties the immigrants might have faced during their integration into the Dresden society and economy will be looked into. How high was their own preparedness to integrate, and how were they perceived by the Dresden population?

 

Frank Metasch: Exulanten in Dresden. Einwanderung und Integration von Glaubensflüchtlingen im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert (Schriften zur sächsischen Geschichte und Volkskunde 34), Leipzig 2011.