Saturday, October 10, 2015

Grand Duke Honours Victims of Second World War

Photo: Domingos Oliveira / RTL /
Today is Luxembourg's national day of commemoration which takes place each year on October 10, if the day falls on a weekend like this year, or the Sunday closest to it. On that day in 1941, the German occupiers organised a survey of Luxembourgish civilians who were asked about their nationality, mother tongue and racial group to find out who was Jewish or Italian, for example, and to pave the way to integrate the Grand Duchy into the Third Reich.

Photo: Domingos Oliveira / RTL /
The Nazis considered the people of Luxembourg to be German as well and expected them to answer the questions accordingly. Resistance fighters within the Grand Duchy realised what the true aim of the census was and thus started a massive awareness raising campaign so that Luxembourgers would write into the forms just what they were - Luxembourgers. Some 97 percent of the inhabitants of the Grand Duchy declared in the census their Luxembourgish identity and expressed that mir wëlle bleiwen wat mir sin (we wish to remain what we are) - the Grand Duchy's national motto. The refusal to declare themselves as German citizens led to mass arrests among the population.

To mark the day, masses and wreath laying ceremonies take place all over the country. Grand Duke Henri particpated in a religious service held the at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame and afterwards laid a wreath at the Monument vun der nationaler Solidaritéit on the Kanounenhiwwel where he also relit the eternal flame before visiting the interior of the memorial commemorating the fallen of the Second World War as well as Luxembourgish resistance and solidarity.

For more pictures, have a look at RTL and Tageblatt. RTL also has a video (starting at 5:34.)

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