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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Anniversary of the start of the 1942 Luxembourg General Strike against the Nazis

August 31, 1942 marked the beginning of the incredibly courageous Luxembourg General Strike against the Nazi occupiers.

In August, 1942 the Nazis declared that men between 20-27 of age in the country would be conscripted into the German army. Unionists, workers and leftists organized a general strike in response that began in the town of Wiltz.

The strike spread on September 1 to other centers. It was viciously repressed by the Nazi occupiers.

Beginning on September 2 over several days 21 strikers were murdered by the Gestapo. Thousands more were arrested and, in some cases, deported to camps. Innocent family members suffered reprisals.

The action, despite its "failure" was a remarkable moment of resistance.

The Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL) issued the following statement about the anniversary:

September 1 marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the General Strike against the fascist German occupiers in Luxembourg.
The strike, preceded a few weeks earlier by a crackdown on the illegal KPL, was triggered by the introduction of forced recruitment of young Luxemburgers into the German Wehrmacht.
The resistance organizations that had been formed after Hitler's Germany invaded Luxembourg, and the illegal KPL had long before learned of the fascist occupiers' plans to press young Luxembourgers into the Wehrmacht.
To counteract this, the resistance organizations informed the population in their illegal newspapers and with leaflets and sticky notes about the expected forced recruitment and called for strike action should the Nazis commit this crime against Luxembourg's youth. »If your strong arm wills it, all wheels stand still«, was one of the slogans.
When universal conscription was announced on August 30, 1942, strikes occurred in many factories and administrations between August 31 and September 2, 1944.
The work stoppages in all parts of the country, which went down in history as a General Strike, were an expression of the fact that parts of the population were courageous enough to stand up to the occupiers and to stand up against the burning of Luxembourg's youth on the battlefields in the East and for a free, sovereign Luxembourg. The General Strike was bloodily put down.
Eighty years later, this lesson seems to have been forgotten, as Luxembourg has surrendered large parts of its sovereignty to the aggressive military pact called NATO.
Where once Luxembourg's forced recruits were driven by the Nazis, Luxembourg soldiers under German command today practice war on the border with Russia, and Luxembourg supports a U.S.-inspired anti-Russian sanctions policy, the negative consequences of which the population in this country must pay in the form of high energy and food prices.
On the 80th anniversary of the General Strike against the Nazis, the KPL honors the heroes who gave their lives in the struggle against the fascist occupiers, among them many communist resisters. It sees it as its duty to fulfill their legacy and today to block the way for fascists and warmongers of all shades.
For a free and sovereign Luxembourg of the creators, for peace, democracy, social justice and socialism!

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