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Tribute to Karl Traugott Schütze (Korla Bohuwěr Šěca), Wendish teacher, entomologist and author, Rachlau, Saxony

by Arnd Sobe and Betty Huf

Karl Traugott Schütze was born in 1858 at Klix (Klukš) and started his teaching career at Rachlau in 1877 after graduating from the Bautzen (Budyšin) Teachers Institute.

He was married in 1881 to Johanna Emilia Albert, and six children were born to the couple.  Besides his teaching duties, Schütze spent a great deal of time pursuing his interest in natural science and research, especially in the surrounds of Mount Czorneboh (Čornobóh).  He was fascinated by insects, and became an internationally-renowned entomologist through his various publications in regard to butterflies.  Even today, his entomological writings are used as a basis for further research.  Schütze used his proficient knowledge of the Sorbian language in books like Humans and Nature which is a popular scientific book that is especially well-known amongst the Sorbian people.  As well as having research results printed in many publications, Schütze gave lectures in both German and Sorbian.  In 1920 he retired from teaching and died at Rachlau in 1938 at the age of 80.  He was buried in the Hochkirch (Bukecy) cemetery.

The inhabitants of Rachlau felt that they should honour their famous resident so they organized a memorial, consisting of a rock from the Čornobóh mountain, on which was mounted a memorial plaque with an inscription in both Sorbian and German.  The dedication of the memorial, which was placed in the garden of the school at which Schütze had taught, took place on 25 August 2018.  The main speech was delivered by Professor Bernhard Klausnitzer, a prestigious entomologist from Dresden and an authority on the lifework of Schütze.  A mulberry tree was planted beside the memorial to represent Schutze’s interest in the rearing of silkworms.

The life and lifework of Karl Traugott Schütze and his sons, a book compiled for the occasion by Drs Elizabeth and Ludwig Elle, with information supplied by Professor Klausnitzer, was available for sale.  Schütze’s third son, Wladimir (Włodźiměr), is known in the Rachlau area, not only as a teacher and school Principal, but also as a painter and artist.  A special exhibition of his artwork, borrowed for this occasion, mostly from private collectors, was shown as part of the celebration.

Mr. Marko Schiemann, member of the Saxon Parliament, was the final speaker who expressed in Sorbian and in German his thanks to the local people for the invitation to attend the festivities.  The choir Budyšin, dressed in their Sorbian costumes, together with the Hochkirch brass band, embellished the ceremony with several Wendish songs and accompanied two Wendish hymns.  In a moving tribute, the great-grandchildren of Karl Traugott Schütze also presented two songs in German, after which all visitors enjoyed coffee and cake together.