When Luxembourg was invaded and annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940, a national consciousness started to come about. From 1941 onwards, the first resistance groups such as the Letzeburger Ro'de Lé'w or the PI-Men were founded. Operating underground, they secretly worked against the German occupation, helping to bring political refugees and those trying to avoid being conscripted into the German forces across the border, and put out patriotic leaflets (often depicting Grand Duchess Charlotte) encouraging the population of Luxembourg to pull through.
As with other countries, the origins, ideological and otherwise, of the different Resistance groups were varied: it ranged from those who found Nazi ideology itself worth fighting against, to those who valued first and foremost their country's freedom. The political spectrum went from the communists to clerical-conservative elements (including even some anti-Semitic undertones).
Luxembourgish Resistance groupsEdit
- ALEF, Aktiv Letzeburger Enhétsfront ge'nt de Faschismus, 1940
- L.S, Lëtzebuerger Scouten, 1940
- L.P.L., Lëtzeburger Patriote Liga, 1940 ("Luxembourgish Patriot League")
- PI-Men, Formation des Patriotes indépendants luxembourgeois, ("Formation of independent Luxembourgish patriots") 1940
- L.F.B., Lëtzeburger Freihétsbewegong, 1940
- L.L, Lëtzebuerger Legio'n, September 1940
- L.F.K., Lëtzeburger Freihétskämpfer, January 1941
- L.V.L., Letzeburger Vollekslegio'n, June 1941
- L.R.L., Lëtzeburger Ro'de Lé'w, October 1941 ("Luxembourgish Red Lion")
- L.F.B., Lëtzeburger Freihétsbond ("Luxembourgish Freedom Union")
- Alweraje, 1941.
- T.L.S., Trei Lëtzeburger Studenten, (1941)
- The different Resistance groups banded together in the Unio'n in early 1944
- L.P.P.D (umbrella group of the Resistance after the war)
In parallel with acts of protest, the first attempts to organise resistance to the German occupation on a more permanent level were made in the summer of 1940. From August, the heads of the Catholic Scouts in the south of the country met in Esch-sur-Alzette and decided to engage in resistance against the Germans. Similar meetings later took place in Luxembourg city, Diekirch and Wiltz. When the occupiers banned the Scout movement in Luxembourg, the organisation continued to exist underground, under the name Lëtzebuerger Scouten an der Resistenz (LS).:12
In late September, Raymond Petit, a student at the Lycée of Echternach, founded the group LPL, the Lëtzebuerger Patriote-Liga. Similarly, at the Lycée of Diekirch, Camille Sutor founded the Trei Lëtzeburger Studenten (TLS). The Lëtzebuerger Legioun (LL) was founded on 27 October 1940 by Aloyse Raths, a student at the École normale, in his native village of Bissen. In November 1940 a retired customs officer, Alphonse Rodesch, founded a second movement with the name LPL in Clervaux, referring to the World War I movement of that name. In December 1940, Hubert Glesener, Eduard Heyardt and Pierre Fonck formed the LFB (Lëtzebuerger Fräiheets-Bewegong) in Rumelange: this organisation included Catholics, liberals and communists. Until the summer of 1941 other movements were formed around the country: in Bascharage, Albert Meyers founded the Lëtzebuerger Roude Léif (LRL); in Differdange, Tétange and Rumelange the LFK (Lëtzebuerger Fräiheets-Kämpfer) and in Schifflange the "ALWERAJE" were formed. In Differdange, Josy Goerres created the Patriotes Indépendants ("Pi-Men"). Another LFB group, the Lëtzebuerger Fräiheets- Bond, was formed in Dudelange.:12
All these groups quickly entered into contact with one another, and several mergers soon took place. First, the TLS merged with the LL, then in June 1941, the LS and LL merged to form the LVL (Lëtzebuerger Volleks-Légioun). On the other hand, an attempt at cooperation between the LFK and LFB in Rumelange ended in betrayal and hundreds of arrests.:12 Further arrests from November 1941 onwards decimated various Resistance groups, with the result that the LVL, the LPL and the LRL became the most substantial remaining organisations, which attracted the survivors of the defunct groups.
The only political party to continue to operate underground was the Luxemourgish Communist Party. However, in August 1942 a police raid weakened Communist resistance, and the schoolteacher François Frisch, who was close to the Communist politician Dominique Urbany, founded a new movement, the ALEF (the Aktiv Lëtzebuerger Eenheetsfront géint de Faschismus).
From 1943 at the latest, Resistance members recognised a need to unify the various organisations. Already in October 1941, attempts had been made to coordinate the different groups' activities against the introduction of mandatory military service. But it was not until after the wave of arrests in 1943 and the executions in February 1944 that the Unio'n vun de Letzeburger Freihétsorganisatio'nen was created on 23 March 1944, uniting the LPL, LRL, and LVL.
The activities of the Resistance consisted of illegal meetings, propaganda activities, printing flyers, procuring weapons and explosives, supporting family members of arrested persons, organising illegal emigration and joining other countries' armed forces.
Mainly, their aim was to counteract the German propaganda under the "Heim ins Reich" dictum, which portrayed Luxembourg as an integral part of Germany. To this end, flyers were printed by hand or on machines, distributed to friends, colleagues and on the street, to spread counter-propaganda.
In localities close to the French and Belgian borders, the groups soon were confronted with the problem of secretly crossing the well-guarded border. A network was put in place to help escaped prisoners of war, Allied pilots who had been shot down, or Resistance members wishing to travel to Britain. From 1943, the Resistance helped young men who refused to serve in the Wehrmacht, to escape to other countries.
Military sabotage was frequent in Luxembourg. It could not, however, take on the dimensions it did in other countries, for structural reasons (lack of coal mines, no chemical industry, a strong German presence).
Economic sabotage was widely practised, and took on different forms. Often, wires were cut or other measures were taken, which led to reprisals.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dostert, Paul. "La résistance luxembourgeoise (1940 - 1944)". Ons Stad, No. 71, December 2002. p. 12-15
- Blau, Lucien. La Résistance Au Grand-Duché De Luxembourg (1940-1945). Mémoire de Maitrise. Université de Metz, 1984.
- Candidi, Gino. La Résistance Du Peuple Luxembourgeois. Éditions du 'RAPPEL' (L.P.P.D.) (ed.). Luxembourg: Imprimerie Centrale, 1977.
- Dollar, Jacques: Josy Goerres et les PI-MEN dans la Résistance. Luxembourg, 1986.
- Dostert, Paul. "La résistance luxembourgeoise (1940 - 1944)". Ons Stad, No. 71, December 2002. p. 12-15
- Hilbert, Roger. "Resistenzbilder" in: De Mierscher Gemengebuet, Mersch, Nr. 70 (March 2005), p. 39-44, ill.
- Hoffmann, Serge. Le mouvement de résistance LVL au Luxembourg, Archives nationales, 2004
- Koch-Kent, Henri. Sie Boten Trotz: Luxemburger Im Freiheitskampf, 1939-1945. Luxembourg: Imprimerie Hermann, 1974.
- Schoentgen, Marc. "Die Resistenzorganisationen in Luxemburg nach dem 2. Weltkrieg", in: Les courants politiques et la Résistance: Continuités ou ruptures?, Luxemburg, 2003, p. 519-551.
- Stoffels, Jules. Petite histoire de l'activité des résistants luxembourgeois engagés dans les réseaux et les maquis de la France combattante, Association des anciens combattants volontaires luxembourgeois de la Résistance française, Imprimerie Centrale, Luxembourg, 2006- 141 pages : ill. ; 26 cm. (ISBN 2-87996-760-0)
- Weber, Paul. Geschichte Luxemburgs im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Luxemburg, Victor Buck, 1948
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