This passport was issued on 17 October 1939 to Michael Flügel, his wife and two children just a few weeks after WWII begun but well before the German occupation of Luxembourg in May 1940. Another great item to my collection as German passports issued in Luxembourg are extremely hard to find.
The Luxembourgish government had pursued a policy of neutrality since the “Luxembourg Crisis” of 1867 had highlighted the country’s vulnerability.During the First World War, the 400 men of the Corps des Gendarmes et Volontaires had remained in barracks throughout the German occupation.In March 1939, in a speech to the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler promised that Luxembourgish sovereignty would not be breached.
The strength of the military was gradually increased as international tension rose during Appeasement and after Britain and France’s declaration of war against Germany in September 1939. By 1940, the Luxembourgish army numbered some 13 officers, 255 armed gendarmes, and 425 soldiers.
The popular English-language radio station, Radio Luxembourg was taken off-air in September 1939, amid fears that it might antagonize the Germans. Apart from that, normal life continued in Luxembourg during the Phoney War; no blackout was enforced and regular trains to France and Germany continued.
The involvement of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in World War II began with its invasion by German forces on 10 May 1940 and lasted beyond its liberation by Allied forces in late 1944 and early 1945.
After surrendering after just a day of fighting, Luxembourg was placed under occupation and was formally annexed into Germany in 1942. During the occupation, the German authorities orchestrated a programme of “Germanisation” of the country, suppressing non-German languages and customs and conscripting Luxembourgers into the Wehrmacht, which led to extensive resistance, culminating in a general strike in August 1942 against conscription. The Germanisation was facilitated by a collaborationist political group, the Volksdeutsche Bewegung, founded shortly after the occupation. Shortly before the surrender, the government had fled the country along with Grand Duchess Charlotte, eventually arriving in London, where a Government-in-exile was formed. Luxembourgish soldiers also fought in Allied units until liberation.
Before the war, Luxembourg had a population of about 3500 Jews, many of them newly arrived in the country to escape persecution in Germany. The Nuremberg Laws, which had applied in Germany since 1935, was enforced in Luxembourg from September 1940 and Jews were encouraged to leave the country for Vichy France. Emigration was forbidden in October 1941, but not before nearly 2500 had fled. In practice, they were little better off in Vichy France, and many of those who left were later deported and killed. From September 1941, all Jews in Luxembourg were forced to wear the yellow Star of David badge to identify them.
From October 1941, Nazi authorities began to deport the around 800 remaining Jews from Luxembourg to Łódź Ghetto and the concentration camps at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. Around 700 were deported from the Transit Camp at Fuenfbrunnen in Ulflingen in the north of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg was declared “Judenrein” (“cleansed of Jews”) except for those in hiding on 19 October 1941. Of the original Jewish population of Luxembourg, only 36 are known to have survived the war.