Luxembourg on Wednesday unveiled its National Action Plan Against Antisemitism (PANAS), with 19 measures intended to boost commemorative culture, enhance synagogue security, and combat online hate, Luxemburg’s RTL Today reported.
Security around both of Luxembourg’s synagogues will be increased and antisemitic intentions will be considered aggravating factors in criminal cases, potentially doubling any resulting sentences.
The majority of the measures deal with remembrance of the Holocaust, “particularly at a time when only a few survivors of the Nazi death camps remain among us.”
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stressed the fact that people in Luxembourg have downplayed the Holocaust in recent times, especially in the context of antivax protests: some protesters wore a yellow Star of David while marching through the streets of the capital, Luxembourg City.
A June 7, 2023 report by the European Jewish Congress suggests that “antisemitism remains high in Luxembourg.” 76 antisemitic incidents were reported in 2022, most of them online. The largest number of incidents relate to traditional antisemitism, with 42 incidents in total.
According to the report, citing Recherche et information sur l’antisémitisme au Luxembourg, “The most important components of hate statements were ‘World Domination’ attributed to Jews (25%), ‘Demonization of Jews’ (14%), negative stereotypes (9%) and Jews as scapegoats (7%).”
The PANAS calls for turning the Cinqfontaines monastery, once used by Germans to incarcerate Jews, into an educational and commemorative site.
The Cinqfontaines monastery was an internment camp for Jews during the Second World War from 1941. The religious community was expelled by the occupying forces and the monastery became a gathering place for Jews and their last stop before deportation to the eastern concentration camps. In 1944, the American military converted the monastery into a field hospital. In 1969, a memorial monument was dedicated. In 1973 it became a retreat and reflection center.
Before WW2 about 5,000 Jews were living in Luxemburg, 1,950 of whom were murdered. Yad Vashem lists only one Luxembourgian among the righteous among the nations who saved Jews under the Nazi occupation.
Katarina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life, said: “Antisemitism has never fully vanished, there was only a time when people knew that they should not say certain things. Now, however, the internet with its means of openly and directly transporting hate offers the chance to say things that people would not even have dared to think before.”