Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, speaking to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013
Photo: Christophe Olinger (archives)
History: The Grand Duchy’s cabinet and Chamber of Deputies have apologised for anti-Semitic acts committed by Luxembourg officials during the Nazi era, which led to the deaths of hundreds of Jews.
The Grand Duchy’s government and parliament have formally presented their excuses for anti-Semitism and collaboration by Luxembourg officials against Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.
“The government wishes to do justice to members of the Jewish community” in Luxembourg before and during the second world war, it said on Tuesday. The government apology was released by the prime minister’s office but signed by all 18 members of the cabinet.
It said in part: “The government apologises to the Jewish community for the suffering that was inflicted on it and for the injustices committed against them and recognises the responsibility of some representatives of public authorities in the incommensurable [acts] that were committed.”
The apology followed the release of “The Jewish Question” (PDF, in French), a report led by Vincent Artuso of the University of Luxembourg, in February. The report documented discrimination against Jews in the 1930s and official collaboration under Nazi occupation beginning in 1940.
Members of Luxembourg’s wartime administration actively participated in Nazi orders helping locate Jews for deportation to concentration camps, the inquiry found.
Approximately 3,500 Jews lived in Luxembourg before the outbreak of World War II, including many who had fled Nazi Germany. Of those, 800 were deported from the Grand Duchy to Nazi camps and only 36 were known to survive, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Around 2,500 Jews escaped to France before its occupation, but several hundred of them were subsequently deported and also killed.
Separately, Luxembourg’s parliament issued its own apology on Tuesday, via a resolution supported by all 60 MPs.
“The Chamber of Deputies acknowledges and profoundly regrets the suffering of the Jewish community during the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg and expresses its apology, while the fact of wrongdoing, the responsibility of the Luxembourg public authorities have been found to have committed,” the chamber stated.