80 years ago, the first Luxembourgers were deported from the central railway station in Luxembourg City. 323 Jews were transported to Lodz in Poland.
It was the first as well as the largest deportation train that departed from Luxembourg towards eastern Europe, marked by the Nazis as train 'DA3'.
323 Luxembourgish Jews were ordered by the Gestapo to make their way to the central railway station on 16 October 1941.
On Friday, the Auschwitz Committee and MemoShoah organised a commemoration of this tragic historic event. There are almost no contemporary witnesses left, meaning that it is up to the next generations to keep the memory alive, Marc Schoetgen, the President of the Auschwitz Committee, said. To do that, it is important that young people are encouraged to learn about what happened as autonomously as possible, Schoetgen explained, adding that those that learn about it today have different questions than those who learned about it twenty or forty years ago.
Schoetgen describes the events of 16 October 1941 as people arriving at the railway station without knowing what was going to happen to them. They did know that it was a one-way trip, as they were forced to hand over the keys to their homes.
Students from three different secondary schools read out biographies of young people who were deported on that day.
The 2021 memorial ceremonies around this anniversary will take place under the slogan "borderless commemoration". Ceremonies are scheduled not just in Luxembourg, but also in the German towns of Trier, Schweich, and Wittlich.
190 German Jews were deported from Trier just one day later.
On Twitter, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stated that those deported by the Nazis will "never be forgotten" and that it is everyone's duty to "never look away when faced with antisemitism, racism, and intolerance".
During his speech on Friday, Bettel also expressed his outrage at the fact that some contemporary politicians are using intolerance and segregation of certain groups to win elections.