The Grand Duke Henri, Fränk Arndt, mayor of Wiltz, Mars Di Bartolomeo, speaker of parliament, Xavier Bettel, prime minister put down a wreath at the national monument for the strike on 31 August to commemorate the strike against the forced recuitment into Wehrmacht on 31 August 1942.
75th anniversary of the general strike against the forced recruitment by the Wehrmacht
On 31 August 1942, people in Wiltz went on strike to protest against the forced recruitment of Luxembourgers into the Wehrmacht, with deadly consequences.
The Nazi occupation executed 21 men in reprisal. In total, 875 people were condemned by a special tribunal and were either imprisoned or deported to the German concentration camp in Hintzert.
The Grand Duke Henri, prime minister Xavier Bettel, the speaker of parliament Mars di Bartolomeo and the mayor of Wiltz, Frank Arndt, led the commemoration at the national monument of the strike in Wiltz at the old tannery “Ideal” where the strike began. Several witnesses of the period participated in the emotional ceremony and told their personal stories.
Leaflets, printed in Brussels, had been distributed secretly across the country. The leaflet urged people to resist the forced recruitment, and called for unity. They were then secretly distributed. People knew that they put their lives in danger. The strike then spread across the country.
At 6:30 am, the employees of the tannery called the general strike. In many factories and in the breweries, people downed tools, teachers did not start school, civil servants did not go to work and cafés and shops did not open. The Nazi occupation dispersed the demonstration in Wiltz. A special tribunal ordered the execution of 21 men for striking and sabotage during war time; the men were teachers, railway workers, smiths, and postal workers.
Michel Worre’s 14-year-old son found out his father had been killed on his way to school in Diekirch. When he arrived at Ettelbruck train station, red posters had been put up which announced his father’s execution.