Sorbs (Upper Sorbian: Serbja, Lower Sorbian: Serby, German: Sorben, also known by their former autonyms Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group predominantly inhabiting Lusatia, a region divided between Germany (the states of Saxony and Brandenburg) and Poland (the provinces of Lower Silesia and Lubusz). Sorbs traditionally speak the Sorbian languages (also known as "Wendish" and "Lusatian"), which are closely related to Polish, Kashubian, Czech, and Slovak. Sorbian is an officially recognized minority language in Germany. Sorbs are linguistically and genetically closest to the Czechs and Poles.
Under German rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, policies were implemented in an effort to Germanize the Sorbs. These policies reached their climax under the Nazi regime, who denied the existence of the Sorbs as a distinct Slavic people through referring to them as "Sorbian-speaking Germans", and persecuted them fiercely. Due to a gradual and increasing assimilation between the 17th and 20th centuries, virtually all Sorbs also spoke German by the late 19th century and many of the current generation no longer speak the Sorbian language. The community is divided religiously between Roman Catholicism (the majority) and Lutheranism. The former Prime Minister of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, is of Sorbian origin.