Reference : The Occupied Museum. Culture and Science in Luxemburg during the Nazi Occupation, 194...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : History
The Occupied Museum. Culture and Science in Luxemburg during the Nazi Occupation, 1940–1944
Spirinelli, Fabio mailto [University of Luxembourg > Luxembourg Center for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) > >]
International Workshop Held on the 80th Anniversary of the Outbreak of WWII
from 23 October 2019 to 25 October 2019
Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Czech Republic
[en] Prior to the invasion of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg by Nazi Germany on May 10, 1940, national research infrastructures were barely developed. A university did not exist. Research was mainly carried out in the Grand-Ducal Institute, comparable to a scientific academy, and within the State Museum.
During the occupation, the Germans introduced a civil administration and constitutional institutions were consequently abolished. Furthermore, the occupying power aimed at neutralizing French influence in Luxembourg while implementing a policy of ʻteutonizationʼ or ʻgermanizationʼ. From a National Socialist perspective, Luxembourg was considered a territory adherent to the German nation. Though the desired annexation of Luxembourg to the Third Reich did not happen, the measures implemented by the regime and the incorporation of the country into the Gau Moselland in February 1941 meant a de facto annexation.
New policies implemented by the Nazi regime affected all spheres of social, cultural, and economic life. In the area of culture and science, plans were drafted to build new institutions or expand existing ones. Cultural and research societies were reorganised or disbanded. Theatres, libraries and museums became propaganda tools to diffuse and consolidate an official German culture. The state museum, renamed Landesmuseum during the occupation, expanded its collection and increased its staff. While the origins of objects and artefacts acquired during the occupation are not entirely clear, the museum strengthened its public role as a protector and conservator of cultural heritage.
My paper aims at exploring how the occupation has shaped research in both sciences and humanities and their related institutions. A comparative view that considers other occupied countries and the Third Reich will be complemented by a case study related to the Landesmuseum during the four-year occupation. Three questions are at the core of the present contribution: How were the research infrastructures incorporated into the new administration? How did the museum adapt to and cope with a situation out of the ordinary? What worldview was to be disseminated to the general public and which particular elements of this worldview were disseminated through cultural and research institutions?
My contribution takes into account the relationship between structures (both administrative and legislative), actors, and discourses. Additionally, specific difficulties related to the currently available primary sources will be dealt with and the ambiguous scientific relations between Germany and Luxembourg before the war will be examined.
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) > Doctoral Training Unit (DTU)

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