A deadly labor strike in Luxembourg, 1942

Monument national de la grève à Wiltz
A deadly labor strike in Luxembourg in 1942. Every year, the strike is commemorated on August 31 by the head of state and government representatives.

On May 10, 1940, Luxembourg was officially placed under German occupation. The Luxembourg people had to behave according to the strict German rules. In fact, the use of any other language besides German was forbidden. These rules exemplify the intense Germanization policy of the authorities. In August 1942, the government announced that all Luxembourgers between the ages of 18 and 22 would be forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht to participate in the fight against the Allies.

This announcement triggered a massive wave of protests. The primary expression of this refusal was the implementation of a general labor strike against the Nazi regime. Resistance fighters distributed leaflets, and word of mouth spread. Thus, all the workers in Luxembourg’s industrial cities were informed about the movement. As a result, all administrative bodies were blocked, including agriculture, industry, and educational structures. Pupils were kept away from schools, and teachers refused to teach.

The strike against the Nazi regime in Luxembourg provoked a particularly violent German repression. Many of the strike leaders were arrested and deported to concentration camps or shot. A German living in Luxembourg and supporter of the strike was beheaded because he was considered a traitor. In addition, the strikers’ families were captured and deported to labor camps under particularly harsh conditions. Some children were even separated from their parents and were sent to reeducation camps.

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