Luxembourg / La grande histoire

The Shoah in Luxembourg


One of the first decrees that the Gauleiter published was the introduction of the antisemitic Nuremberg Laws on 5 September 1940. Up to October 1941 many decrees made life for Jews in Luxembourg more and more difficult. From October 1941 onwards, seven transports took the Jews that had not been able to emigrate to the camps and ghettos in the East.

On 10 May 1940, 3,907 Jews lived in Luxembourg. Most of them had emigrated from eastern Europe or were German, Austrian, and Polish Jewish refugees. Some 1,000 were Luxembourg nationals.

On 5 September 1940, Gauleiter Simon introduced the Nuremberg Laws in Luxembourg following the occupation by Nazi Germany.

Jews were ordered to deliver a complete listing of all their assets until the end of 1940. Throughout 1941, the Gauleiter published decrees that stripped them of their properties.

The conditions of living became more and more restricted, limiting the places where they were allowed to go and the times when they were allowed to do their shopping. At the same time the Jews were exploited as forced labourers working in quarries and on the Reichsautobahn (road networks) in Germany.

From 8 August 1940, until the Germans forbade emigration on 15 October 1941, they encouraged the emigration of Jews from Luxembourg. Permitting twenty groups, to go to the unoccupied zone of France, Belgium, and Portugal. More than 2,500 Jews left Luxembourg. Many of these Jews were later deported to ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland.

The Germans had begun rounding up the Jews in Summer 1941, placing them in the Cinqfontaines camp, on a railway line, at a site that up to 1940 had been a monastery. The camp became the point from which many of them were deported to the East. The first transport and the largest comprising some 323 persons however left Luxembourg city for the ghetto of Litzmannstadt on 16 October 1941. Altogether 658 Jews were deported on seven transports, the last of which left on the 17 June 1943. Only 44 people out of all those deported survived. 13 Jewish persons were arrested individually and deported to concentration camps. Some transports went to Theresienstadt and from then the Jews were deported to Auschwitz – Birkenau, one transport in April 1942 went to Izbica and then to the Sobibor death camp.

Luxembourg became judenrein (cleansed of Jews) except for a few Jews who had gone into hiding (six) or were married to non-Jews (70). All in all, some 1,300 Jews out of 3,900 were murdered in the Shoah.