Yiddish in Luxemburg




Five years ago approximately 1200 Jews lived in Luxemburg. Now the number have grown. Luxembourg is only a couple of hours by train from Paris, Brussels or Frankfurt. Luxembourg have an extremely low crime rate and the highest per capita income in Europe. Anti-Semitism in Luxembourg is generally unknown. 45 percent of the population in Luxembourg are foreigners (and this despite the slogan “We want to remain who we are”), there is a very surprising and encouraging lack of xenophobia.

The country’s only kosher store are named Boulangerie Philip. This supermarket sell matzah from Israel, Hanukkah candles from Belgium and frozen kosher meat from France.

The shop is located just 15 minutes walk from the main synagogue of Luxembourg, built in 1953 instead of the building, destroyed by the Nazis.

Deportations of Jews in Luxemburg during WWII.

In the 1930’ies anti-Semitism in Luxembourg was very common. Henry Miller described in his novel “Quiet Days in Clichy” restaurant in Luxembourg, where the Jews were not serviced.

Approximately 3,500 Jews were living in the country at the beginning of the Nazi occupation (May 1940). Now it is only about 15-1600.

Of the 3,500 Jews living there in 1940, 1,555 survived, by fleeing, hiding, or surviving in the camps; 1,945 were murdered, a third in the camps to which they had been deported from Luxembourg, and the rest in the country itself or in other occupied countries to which they had fled or been deported. Only a few Jews returned after the war.

Grand Duke Henri and his wife Maria Teresa.

In 2008, the Grand Duke Henri and his wife Maria Teresa took part in celebrations to mark the 200 anniversary of the Luxembourg ‘kehilleh’. The limited anti-Semitism is probably the reason why in recent years a lot of Jews from France have moved to Luxembourg. The main language of most Jews today are Luxembourg – French (the majority of the population knows also the German Luxembourgish).

Stamp, Luxemburg.

Luxembourgian Jews have survived the financial crisis. The financial world-crises have even created better conditions for the Luxembourg Jewish community. Recently a new Jewish community was registered in the second-largest city, Esch-sur-Alsett, with its own rabbi even.

German, is one of the three official languages of the country. Many Jews died in Luxembourg during the Holocaust.  All agree that the crisis has breathed in Luxembourg Jewish community Second Life.

One comment

  1. My grandfather Becker was raised in Luxembourg. I believe he spoke French, German, Luxemburg, and fluent Yiddish. He was born in St Louis Missouri; but after his parents died when he was very young, he was taken to his native Luxemburg, and educated there. He studied for the priesthood for a time. I believe he had brothers and sisters, including a set of twins. Nothing can be found of his parents. My family tree ends with but him. He married twice. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania… Hannah Flynn. They had at least 4-5 children. Two were healthy. Mary and John Jr. Mary was as old as his second wife, Emma Smith, daughter of Kathleen Smith of Ireland, when he married my grandmother, at the age of 15. They had 12 living children. Seven girls and five boys, all healthy to my knowledge. The first John Jr, (Hannah’s son) was tragically killed falling beneath an ice truck on about his 14th birthday. The other brothers by Hannah were very sickly, cerebral palsy… and one was institutionalized. My father was the 2nd John Jr… and grew to be a handsome and very fine man; serving in the Navy, as a Seabee…and stationed in the Alution Islands, Alaska. As for Sister Mary, as we were trained to call her, was a mean and intolerant woman.

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