Community in Luxembourg - World Jewish Congress

The first evidence of Jews in Luxembourg dates back to the Middle Ages. The great synagogue in Luxembourg City was built in 1894. The synagogue, which had three cupolas above it, was closed by German occupiers in 1941 and later demolished. It was not until 1953 and 1954, respectively, that two new synagogues were opened in Luxembourg and in Esch-sur-Alzette.

The Jewish community is represented by the Consistoire Israélite de Luxembourg, the Luxembourg affiliate of the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Affiliate
Consistoire Israélite de Luxembourg

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352 473 772

Sabrina Berrebi

President: Albert Aflalo

There have been small numbers of Jews that have lived in what is today Luxembourg since the 14th century. However, frequent persecutions, including massacres during the 1309 crusade and at the time of the Black Death from 1349–50 and expulsions in 1391 and 1530, prevented Jews from establishing substantive communities there in pre-Napoleonic times.

Fewer than 100 Jews lived in Luxembourg at the time of the Grand Duchy’s independence in 1815. The first synagogue in Luxembourg City was built in 1823. By 1880, 369 Jews lived in Luxembourg City, and some 60 other Jewish families had settled elsewhere in the Grand Duchy. The country's first Chief Rabbi was Rabbi Samuel Hirsch, who served from 1843 until 1866 and was one of the founders of what is known as Classic German Reform Judaism.

A second synagogue in Luxembourg City was dedicated in 1899, as was another in Esch-sur-Alzette. In the 1930s, the Jewish population grew from 1,500 to 4,000, due to the arrival of refugees from Germany. 1,945 members of Luxembourg’s Jewish community were murdered in the Holocaust, while approximately 1,560 survived in France and elsewhere.

After the end of World War II, approximately 1,500 Jews returned to Luxembourg. Jewish communities were re-established, and synagogues were built in Luxembourg City and Esch-sur-Alzette. Over the next few decades, Luxembourg's Jewish population gradually declined as families left for Israel and other countries. The immigration of younger Jews due to the advantageous financial and employment possibilities has recently caused this to change. Despite the small size of the Luxembourg Jewish community, Jews have played an important role in the Grand Duchy’s political, economic, and cultural activities.

Prominent Luxembourg Jews have included Alain Mayer, a former vice president of the community, who was President of Luxembourg’s Council of State; Edmond Israel, who served as president of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange; Laurent Moyse, editor-in-chief of the main newspaper, La Voix du Luxembourg; and Corinne Cahen, the Grand Duchy’s Minister of Family and Integration.

The Years of the Holocaust

In May 1940, there were 1,650 Jews among the 50,000 Luxembourgers who fled to France and Belgium upon the German invasion. In October 1940, the Nazis destroyed the synagogue in Esch-sur-Alzette. The main synagogue in Luxembourg City was closed in May 1941 by the Gestapo before eventually being vandalized and razed in the fall of 1943. In November 1940, 293 Luxembourg Jews on a train bound for Portugal were denied entry by the Salazar government and sent to the French internment camp at Mousserroles, near the city of Bayonne.

The property of Luxembourg’s Jews was confiscated in 1941, and all Jewish organizations were dissolved in November of that year. Most of the remaining Jews of the Grand Duchy were interned at the Fünfbrunnen internment camp, near Troisvierges. From there, 696 Jewish prisoners were deported to ghettos, labor camps, and extermination camps, of whom only 36 survived. More than 500 Luxembourg Jews who had fled to France or Belgium were also deported to camps, of whom a mere 16 survived.


About 700 Jews—roughly 300–350 families, including diplomats and expatriates—live in Luxembourg today, constituting one of that country’s largest ethnic minorities. Most live in Luxembourg City, with a smaller community in the town of Esch-sur-Alzette.

Community Life

The Consistoire Israélite de Luxembourg is constitutionally recognized as the community's representative to the government and is the means through which the chief rabbi and communal functionary are appointed. Both positions are governmentally funded.

Religious and Cultural Life

The community's main synagogue is situated close to the center of Luxembourg City. Orthodox traditions are followed. By local tradition, both girls and boys, at 12 and 13 years old, respectively, become bar or bat mitzvah. In 2008, the community of Esch-sur-Alzette appointed a liberal rabbi from England.

Kosher Food

Luxembourg has one kosher grocery store, which serves local families who observe kashrut, but Kosher food is not locally produced, then families who observe kashrut obtain meat and more other foodstuffs from Metz and Strasbourg.

Jewish Education

Luxembourg City has a Jewish kindergarten. In 2016, the Consistoire decided to join the network of the National Library of Luxembourg with the Luxembourg School of Religion & Society to add the Library of the Consistoire as part of the global religious catalogue of the National Library called


There is an active youth movement, Union des Jeunes Gens Israélites du Luxembourg. (UJGIL) Luxembourg is affiliated with the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS).

Relations with Israel

Full diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Luxembourg in 1949. Israel's ambassador to the Grand Duchy resides in Brussels. In September 2016, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel was the first prime minister of Luxembourg make an official visit to Israel.

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