Duty of memory, general strike of 1942

On September 1 and 2, 2023, ArcelorMittal Luxembourg paid tribute to the workers who demonstrated resistance to the Nazi occupation and commemorated the memory of those victims of the occupier in Belval and Differdange by laying a wreath in front of the plaques commemorative events and the observation of a minute of silence in the central workshop of Differdange. This is an important moment for employees, former employees and management of ArcelorMittal Long Products Luxembourg, staff representatives, the municipalities and the families of the deceased.

In Differdange, this year is marked by the new 1942 strike park located at the entrance to the Differdange site. It allows all walkers access to the replica of the memorial in honor of the victims of the 1942 strike. The real war memorial is only accessible from inside the site and this becomes an obstacle to the duty of memory and weighed on the commune and the people wishing to pay their respects. Initial plans envisaged turning the original monument over so that it could be viewed and visited from the street but it was commonly accepted that the one inaugurated in 1946 should remain on the site.

Two months were needed to rehabilitate this space into a park through development work including paths, plants and furniture. For its part, ArcelorMittal wanted to highlight the steel industry with a curtain of sheet piles and an XXL logo. The company makes this space available to the city of Differdange for a period of 10 years. This provision comes within the framework of agreements negotiated between the company and the State which wanted the land to be intended exclusively for the recreational use of green spaces, the renaturation of the “Kaleckerbach” and for a cycle path with public lighting.

1942’s general strike

In August 1942, the Nazi authorities in Luxembourg communicated their intention to forcibly enroll young Luxembourgers in their army. In response to this demand, a wave of strikes began from Wiltz to the south of the country, passing through the steel sites of Schifflange, Differdange and Belval. On September 2, 1942, 56 workers did not show up for their jobs. Threatened with death by the Nazis, they end up coming to the site but do not resume work immediately and regroup in the main workshop. In retaliation, six workers were executed by the Nazis. They were between 19 and 53 years old.