Luxembourg government-in-exile

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Wilton Crescent in London, where the government was based during the war. The exact building can be seen to the centre-right, flying the Luxembourgish flag.

The Luxembourgish government in exile (Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuerger Exilregierung, French: Gouvernement en exil luxembourgois, German: Luxemburgische Exilregierung), also known as the Luxembourgish government in London, was the government in exile of Luxembourg during the Second World War. The government was based in London between 1940 and 1944, while Luxembourg was occupied by Nazi Germany. It was led by Pierre Dupong, and also included three other Ministers. The head of state, Grand Duchess Charlotte, also escaped from Luxembourg after the occupation. The government was bipartite, including two members from both the Party of the Right (PD) and the Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP).

The government was located in 27 Wilton Crescent in Belgravia, London which is today the Embassy of Luxembourg in London.[1] It was located only a few hundred meters from the Belgian government in exile in Eaton Square.


On 10 May 1940, neutral Luxembourg was invaded by German troops as part of a wider attack on France. The same day, the Luxembourgish government, then under the Dupong-Krier Ministry, fled the country.[2]

Exile to London[edit]

The government first fled to Paris, Lisbon and then the United Kingdom.[3] While the Government established itself in Wilton Crescent in London, the Grand Duchess and her family moved to Francophone Montreal in Canada.[3] The government in exile was vocal in stressing the Luxembourgish cause in newspapers in Allied countries and succeeded in obtaining Luxembourgish language broadcasts to the occupied country on BBC radio.[4] The government encouraged the foundation of the Luxembourg Society in London in 1942.[5]

In 1944, the government in exile signed the London Customs Convention with the Belgian and Dutch governments, laying the foundation for the Benelux Economic Union and also signed into the Bretton Woods system of currency controls.[6]


The Luxembourg Grey Book (1942) published on behalf of the government to inform the Allied public about Luxembourg's role in the conflict.
[7][8] Minister Name Party
Middle coat of arms of Luxembourg.svg Leader of the Government - Minister of State, Minister of Finance and of the Armed Forces. Pierre Dupong PD
Joseph Bech (detail).jpg Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viticulture, Arts and Sciences, the Interior and of Public Education. Joseph Bech PD
Middle coat of arms of Luxembourg.svg Minister of Work and of Social Security Pierre Krier LSAP
Middle coat of arms of Luxembourg.svg Minister of Justice, Public Works and Transport. Victor Bodson LSAP

Free Luxembourgish forces[edit]

Luxembourgish military involvement could play only a "symbolic role" for the Allied cause.[6]

In March 1944, the first all-Luxembourgish unit was created in England. The unit, a gun battery, operated four 25 pounder guns, which they christened Elisabeth, Marie Adelaide, Marie Gabriele and Alix after the Grand duchess' daughters. The unit formed part of C Troop, 1st Belgian Field Artillery Battery of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, which was nicknamed the "Brigade Piron" after its commander Jean-Baptiste Piron.[9] The Troop numbered some 80 men.[10] The battery landed in Normandy with rest of the Brigade Piron on 6 August 1944 and served in the Battle of Normandy and was involved in the Liberation of Brussels in September 1944.[10]

Numerous Luxembourgers fought in other Allied armies, many individually within other Allied units such as the Free French section of No. 4 Commando.

Prince Jean, son of the Grand Duchess and future Grand Duke, served in the Irish Guards from 1942.


The exile government was heavily criticised by members of the Resistance and others for its lack of help towards Luxembourgers attempting to flee their occupied country during the war.[11] Its inactivity persuaded two of its critics, the resistance members Henri Koch-Kent and Mac Schleich, the presenter of the Luxembourgish BBC programme, to found the Association des Luxembourgeois en Grande-Bretagne ("Association of Luxembourgers in Great Britain") in London, which counted 300 refugees from Luxembourg and men who had been forcibly conscripted into the German armed forces but had defected to the Allies. The Association was a bitter critic of the exile government, accusing it of treason. The government, for its part, attempted to intimidate the Association, by trying to remove Schleich as its secretary and as BBC presenter, in which it failed.[citation needed] Criticism was also forthcoming from the rest of the community of Luxembourgish refugees in London and in the Allied armed forces.[6] These included Émile Krieps and Robert Winter, both officers in the Allied armed forces, and Albert Wingert, leader of the Luxembourgish Alweraje resistance group.

When the London-based government returned to Luxembourg in September 1944, the resistance organisations were highly sceptical about its legitimacy, in spite of which, it refused to resign, with the justification that it wished to wait for the return of the Grand Duchess. While these same organisations approved of the nomination of Pierre Frieden to the government in November 1944, they were vehemently against its enlargement by a further two ministers in February 1945, which lacked the approval of any legislative body.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Welcome". Embassy of Luxembourg in London. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  2. ^ N.C. (10 May 1940). "Le Governement du Luxembourg aurait quitté la capitale". Paris-Soir. p. 1. 
  3. ^ a b Various (2011). Les Gouvernements du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg depuis 1848 (PDF). Luxembourg: Government of Luxembourg. pp. 110–1. ISBN 978-2-87999-212-9. 
  4. ^ Various (2011). Les Gouvernements du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg depuis 1848 (PDF). Luxembourg: Government of Luxembourg. p. 112. ISBN 978-2-87999-212-9. 
  5. ^ "Luxembourg Society". Embassy of Luxembourg in London. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Yapou, Eliezer (1998). "Luxembourg: The Smallest Ally". Governments in Exile, 1939–1945. Jerusalem. 
  7. ^ "Du 10 mai 1940 au 23 novembre 1944". Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Pettibone, Charles D. (2014). The Organisation and Order of Battle of Militaries in World War II. IX: The Overrun Neutral Nations of Europe and Latin American Allies. London: Trafford Publishing. p. 183. ISBN 9781490733869. 
  9. ^ "The 1st Belgian Field Artillery Battery, 1941–1944". Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Gaul, Roland. "The Luxembourg Army". MNHM. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Roemen, Rob. "Als die Regierung ihre Kritiker einsperren ließ." In: forum, No. 251, November 2005, p. 29.


  • Yapou, Eliezer (2006). "Luxembourg: The Smallest Ally". Governments in Exile, 1939–1945. Jerusalem. 
  • Preface by Bech, Joseph (1942). The Luxembourg Grey Book: Luxembourg and the German Invasion, Before and After. London: Hutchinson & Co. 
  • Cohn, Ernst J. (1943). "Legislation in Exile: Luxembourg". Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law 25 (3/4): 40–46. JSTOR 754754. 
  • Heisbourg, Georges (1991). Le Gouvernement Luxembourgeois en Exil (no.4) (in French). Luxembourg: Saint-Paul. 
  • Koch-Kent, Henri (1986). Vu et entendu... (in French). II: Années d'exil, 1940-1946. Luxembourg: Hermann. 
  • Bernier Arcand, Philippe (2010). "L’exil québécois du gouvernement du Luxembourg" (PDF). Histoire Québec (in French) 15 (3): 19–26. 
  • Haag, Emile; Krier, Emile (1987). 1940: L'Année du Dilemme - La Grande-duchesse et son Gouvernement Pendant la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale (in French). Luxembourg: RTL edition. 

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