After 70 years, Luxembourg apologizes for Holocaust
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After 70 years, Luxembourg apologizes for Holocaust

For first time, tiny duchy’s parliament takes responsibility for past leaders’ collusion with the Nazis

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gives a speech on June 3, 2015, during talks as part of the two-day European Development Days event, held on June 3-4 in Brussels. (AFP photo/John Thys)
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gives a speech on June 3, 2015, during talks as part of the two-day European Development Days event, held on June 3-4 in Brussels. (AFP photo/John Thys)

LUXEMBOURG — Luxembourg apologized to the Jewish community Tuesday for its “suffering” during the Nazi occupation in World War II, in the first such gesture since the conflict ended 70 years ago.

The government of the tiny duchy, which is nestled between France, Belgium and Germany acknowledged that “certain representatives” of the Luxembourg authorities had been complicit.

Out of 3,700 Jews living in Luxembourg before the war, 1,200 were killed from May 1940 until September 1944, the period of Nazi occupation, according to the Luxembourg government website.

“The government presents its apologies to the Jewish community for the suffering that was inflicted on it and the injustices that were committed against it, and recognizes the responsibility of some public officials in the unforgivable events committed,” said a declaration signed by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and a group of ministers.

Sixty Luxembourg MPs also adopted on Tuesday a resolution recognizing the “suffering inflicted on the Jewish population, to its Luxembourgish and foreign members, during the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg.”

The parliament also apologized “for wrongdoing, in which the Luxembourg public authorities were also engaged.”

Many of the Luxembourg Jews killed in the Holocaust had fled Germany before the war amid rising attacks on the Jewish community there.

Tuesday’s apology came after the government commissioned Luxembourg historian Vincent Artuso to write a report on the complicity of Luxembourg authorities.

“The Luxembourg administration collaborated politically with the German administration in anti-Semitic persecution in three ways: identifying people believed to belong to the Jewish race according to criteria set by the Germans; their expulsion from public roles, professions and schools; and the theft of their property,” he wrote in a report published in February.

Neighboring Belgium made a similar apology in 2009.

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