- LUXEMBOURG (Luxemburg), grand duchy, formerly a county, bordered by France, Germany, and Belgium. Jews were first noted in the city of Luxembourg, capital of the country, in 1276. In the early 14th century immigrants from the neighboring region of Trier formed several small Jewish settlements. During the black death (1349) many of the Jews were massacred and the remainder expelled from the cities of Luxembourg and Echternach, notwithstanding the protection of Count Charles IV. They must have returned soon after, for in 1367 the existence of a Porte des Juifs ("Jews' Gate") is mentioned in the capital. The total expulsion of the Jews was decreed in 1391, but as early as 1405 some few individuals were once more living there. The homes of the Jews were destroyed and their possessions looted following an uprising in 1478. After that only two Jewish families remained, but by 1515 the number of families had grown to 15, residing in Luxembourg, Echternach, and Arlon, which was then still part of the county. The expulsion decreed in 1530 was fully implemented with the exception of some Marranos and a few traders at the fairs. Jews disappeared from Luxembourg until the Napoleonic period, when about 15 families from lorraine settled there. In 1808 the number of Jews was 75. Under Napoleonic legislation they were subject to the Trier consistory until the establishment of Luxembourg's own consistory in 1838. The first synagogue was built in 1823 and the first chief rabbi, samuel hirsch , was appointed in 1843, serving until 1866. There were 87 Jewish families (369 persons) in the city of Luxembourg in 1880 and 63 families in the rest of the duchy. The growth of this population necessitated the construction of a new synagogue in Luxembourg in 1894, and another in Esch-sur-Alzette in 1899. The Jewish population, numbering 1,171 persons in 1927, increased considerably with the arrival of refugees from Germany; in 1935, 3,144 Jews were resident in the duchy. (Simon R. Schwarzfuchs) -Holocaust Period At the time of the invasion of Luxembourg on May 10, 1940, over 1,000 of the 4,000 Jews in the grand duchy (among them about 1,000 refugees) managed to flee to France. A new consistory was formed on the initiative of Rabbi Serebrenik, and in August 1940 the Nazis set up a civil administration under Gauleiter ("district head") Gustav Simon. After the German annexation, discriminatory racial laws operating throughout the Reich were extended to the grand duchy (Sept. 5, 1940), and 355 commercial enterprises were handed over to "Aryans." On Sept. 13, 1940 the gestapo announced that all the Jews would be deported on the following Day of Atonement if the consistory did not succeed in arranging their emigration prior to that date. Due to the consistory's efforts, particularly through a petition sent to himmler , this measure was postponed, but emigration remained the sole road to survival. Between Aug. 8, 1940 and May 26, 1941, when Rabbi Serebrenik was forced to leave in peril of his life, 700 Jews possessing more or less authentic visas fled overseas. In another operation, about 1,000 people were secretly evacuated to France in small groups. After these rescue operations the consistory became the Aeltestenrat der Juden and administered the remaining 850 Jews. Of these, 127 emigrated in January 1942 and the rest were deported; only 35 of the latter survived. -Contemporary Period After World War II approximately 1,500 Jews returned to Luxembourg. Mostly merchants, they succeeded in renewing their business activities and, with financial assistance from the state, devoted themselves to reconstructing their community. The community's institutions were revived and a new synagogue built, the old one having been destroyed in 1943. Instrumental in these achievements was the consistory presided over by Edmond Marx, in cooperation with Rabbi Kratzenstein, who served the community from 1946 to 1948, and Rabbi Lehrmann (1949–59). In Esch-sur-Alzette a community of 40 families established itself with a new synagogue as its center. Maurice Levy was president of the consistory from 1961 to 1968 and was succeeded by Edmond Israël. From 1959 the chief rabbi was Emmanuel Bulz. In 1970, there were 1,200 Jews in Luxembourg. It was in the city of Luxembourg that the chancellor of the German Federal Republic, Konrad Adenauer, and Israel's foreign minister, moshe sharett , signed on Sept. 10, 1952, the agreement on German reparations to Israel. There were around 600 Jews living in Luxembourg in the early 21st century. The community is dominated by Luxembourgers who returned after the Holocaust but there have been recent Jewish immigrants. The Consistoire appoints the chief rabbi. (Emmanuel Bulz) -Relations with Israel Luxembourg's relations with Israel have always been cordial. Luxembourg voted in the UN in Nov. 1947 in favor of the partition of Palestine and has maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel. Israel is represented in Luxembourg by her ambassador in Brussels, while Luxembourg's interests in Israel (as in most other countries) are represented politically by the Dutch embassy and economically by the Belgian embassy. Official visits of the foreign ministers of both countries were exchanged in 1969. Luxembourg, which plays a central role in the European Economic Community, wholeheartedly supported Israel's application for association with the Common Market. In 2005, as part of his visit to the Middle East, Jean Asselborn, president of the Council of the European Union and Luxembourg's minister for foreign affairs and immigration, visited Israel and affirmed the European Union's commitment to Israel as an important friend and partner. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Stengers, Les Juifs dans les Pays-Bas au moyen-âge (1950); C. Lehrmann, La communauté juive du Luxembourg dans le passé et dans le présent (1953); H. Monneray, La persécution des Juifs en France et dans les autres pays de l'Ouest (1947), index; Algemeyne Entsiklopedye, 7 (1966), 217–20.
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.