Sorbs

Sorbs (Upper Sorbian: Serbja, Lower Sorbian: Serby, German: Sorben, also known as 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, Silesian, and Slovak. Sorbian is an officially recognized minority language in Germany. Sorbs are genetically closest to the Poles and Czechs.

Sorbs
Sorbian flag, in Pan-Slavic colors, introduced in 1842
Traditional female costume of Lower Lusatia (Spreewald)
Total population
60,000[1]–80,000[2][3] (est.)
• 45,000–60,000 Upper Sorbs
• 15,000–20,000 Lower Sorbs
Regions with significant populations
 Germany60,000–80,000
 Czech Republic2,000[4]
 Polandfewer than 1,000
Languages
Sorbian (Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian), German (Lusatian dialects)
Religion
Majority Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism
Related ethnic groups
Other West Slavs, Serbs
(especially Czechs, Silesians 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 by 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 early 20th century and many of the current generations no longer speak the Sorbian language. The community is divided religiously between Roman Catholicism (the majority) and Lutheranism. The former Minister President of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, is of Sorbian origin.


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