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Remembrance – memorials, walks and museums
War

Remembrance – memorials, walks and museums

by Sarita Rao 8 min. 10.11.2020 From our online archive
Luxembourg remembers the bravery of those who fought and died in battle and the victims of war
Gelle Fra statue in the moonlight Photo: Anouk Antony
Gelle Fra statue in the moonlight Photo: Anouk Antony

On 10 May 1940 German armed forces swept into Luxembourg. During the course of the Second World War until the liberation of Luxembourg City on 10 September 1944, almost 4,000 Luxembourgers were arrested, imprisoned or sent to concentration camps, and 13,000 young men and women were forcibly conscripted into German army or labour services (of those, 2,900 are still listed as missing).

November is the time many countries traditionally remember the bravery of those who fought and died in battle and the victims of war. Here’s a list of war memorials, museums, and walking trails, for the month of remembrance. 

War Memorials

National Monument of Solidarity (Kanounenhiwwel)

On Plateau du Saint Esprit this monument commemorates all those who died in WWII and remembers the resistance and solidarity of the Luxembourg nation in the face of Nazi occupation. The paved inner courtyard symbolises prisons, concentration camps and barracks, and the ordinary un-chiselled stone represents the war victims. An eternal flame burns in front of the monument.

Golden Lady (Gëlle Fra)

Looking down over Constitution Square the Golden Lady commemorates the Luxembourgers who perished in the First World War. Erected in 1923, the monument was pulled down by the Nazis in October 1940. It was only restored to its place in 1984 and today is a strong symbol for the freedom and resistance of the Luxembourg people.

Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial (Hamm)

Photo: LW archive
Photo: LW archive

The resting place for 5,076 American soldiers who died during the Second World War, it was originally established as a temporary burial ground. General Patton was buried here on Christmas Eve 1945 and among those buried there are 118 soldiers of Jewish faith, 22 pairs of brothers and one woman, an army nurse.

 Free guided tours can be arranged with 72 hours' notice. 

War memorials and cemeteries in Luxembourg

There are a number of war memorials and cemeteries in Luxembourg including the symbolic graves for those deported, French war graves, a memorial to the Jewish, the Russian prisoner-of-war graves, and the cemetery for German soldiers. You can find a list of all the war graves and memorials in Luxembourg here.

Military and World War museums

National Museum of Military History (Diekirch)

Telling the story of the Battle of the Bulge (1944-45) using life-sized models detailing the struggles faced by soldiers and civilians, the museum has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Luxembourgish Army, both World Wars and the Korean War. Military equipment, vehicles, photographs and documents as well as personal items are on display. Entry is €5 for adults, €3 for children aged 10-18 years and free for under 10s. Opening times can be found here, and in present times the number of visitors is limited to 70 people with entry through online reservations only. 

Inside the National Museum of Military History in Diekirch Photo: John Lamberty
Inside the National Museum of Military History in Diekirch Photo: John Lamberty

Museum of the Battle of the Bulge (Clervaux Castle)

Lasting two months and possibly the biggest battle of the Second World War, it freed Luxembourg from German occupation. The museum illustrates this historical battle through documents, uniforms and authentic weapons. Entry prices and opening times can be found here.

National Museum of the Resistance (Esch-sur-Alzette)

Tracing the resistance movement in Luxembourg between 1940 and 1944 through the reactions of the people with photos, objects and works of art, it also has an area dedicated to concentration camps and the fate of Jews in Luxembourg. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 14.00 to 18.00, admission is free. More information about temporary exhibitions can be found here.

Deportation Memorial and Museum (Hollerich/Gasperich)

During the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg, the old Hollerich train station served as a transport site for Luxembourgers forced to join the German labour or military services. It was also the place in which Luxembourgers considered ''unfavourable'', including Jews, were transported first to France but later to concentration camps. Today, the station on Rue de la Déportation contains an educative and interactive exhibition open to the public from Tuesday to Friday 9-11.30 and 14.00 to 16.30. You can find out more here.

General Patton Museum (Ettelbruck)

General Patton statue Photo: John Lamberty
General Patton statue Photo: John Lamberty

Born in California in 1885, George Smith Patton Junior led US troops in the invasion of Casablanca and closer to home led the Third Army in relieving troops in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Noted for having a colourful and controversial personality, his emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action proved decisive in WWII. Patton died in a car crash and his body is buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm.

The museum, open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 to 17.00, pays tribute to General Patton and the 80th infantry division that liberated the town of Ettelbruck on 25 December 1944. There’s an imposing statue of Patton and over 1000 documents in addition to weapons discovered on the battlefield in recent years.

Museum of the Battle of the Ardennes (Wiltz)

Following renovations in 2014, this museum has a wide range of military artefacts and objects that tell the story of this battle from the perspective of the inhabitants of Wiltz and the soldiers besieged there. Housed in Wiltz Castle the museum is open Monday to Saturday 9.00 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 17.00 and daily in July and August from 9.00 to 18.00. Entry with an audio guide costs €6.50 for adults and is free for those under 21 years old.

385 Bomb Group Memorial Museum (Perlé)

In July 1944 two B-17 bombers collided over the town of Perlé. The museum is dedicated to the 18 airmen who lost their lives, and houses artefacts and parts of the bomber planes to give an insight into what life was like for the air crew.

Bastogne War Museum 

Across the  border this fantastic museum takes you by audio guide (allow 2.5 to 3 hours) through the war from the viewpoint of a German soldier, a Belgian schoolboy, a Belgian teacher and an American soldier. Vividly brought to life also with rooms dedicated to the cafe in Arlon which housed several families during the final offensive and bombings, to the ravaged forests where German and American soldiers fought bitterly. Tickets must be reserved in a time slot to control the number of visitors and masks must be worn at all times. You'll find opening times here, with reservation slots bookable here. There is a cafe on site. 

War walks

Spurensuche (Luxembourg City)

This 2.5 km walk will take you on a tour of the historic sites of occupation and liberation as well as remembrance related to the Second World War.

Starting at the town hall, taking in the Gëlle Fra and the National Monument of Luxembourg Solidarity, the walk continues to Avenue de la Liberté and the Place of Martyrs which commemorates the war dead of Luxembourg (including 437 foreigners).

It also passes Villa Pauly, the torture facility for the Gestapo during Nazi occupation, and the Ministry of Education which occupies the site of a synagogue destroyed in 1943 and has a plaque commemorating the Luxembourgish Jews who did not survive the war. You can download a PDF of the walk in English here.

Remembrance Walk (Wiltz)

Sign along the Remembrance walk Photo: Diane Hoffmann
Sign along the Remembrance walk Photo: Diane Hoffmann

This 2.8 km trail that pays tribute to the fierce fighting between the US troops and German soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45 at Schumanns Eck (where there is now a monument) near Wiltz. Visitors can discover the battlefield and follow the foxholes.

Remembrance Walk (Hoesdorf Plateau)

A historical circuit that includes the Siegfried Line "Westwall", once the site of fierce fighting, this trail has several different starting points and 17 narrative panels along its 17 km footpath. Panels one to nine and 17 all lie in Luxembourg, the rest in Germany. You can find out more about the conflict in this area and download a map of the walk here.

Guided tours 

Gaul's Legacy Tours in Diekirch provide individually tailored World War Two and Battle of the Bulge Heritage Tours in the Ardennes. You can also book guided tours to a number of sites and museums listed in this article, here (for groups of 25 or more). 

Multilingual education brochure on WW2

The Committee for the Remembrance of the Second World War has published a multilingual educational brochure on the Second World War in Luxembourg which is available in Luxembourgish, German, French and English on its new website cm2gm.lu. You can download the brochure here, and the site also lists events taking place for remembrance and commemoration. 

You can find more information on military heritage in Luxembourg here.


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