Luxemburgische Zeitgeschichte Europäische Zeitgeschichte

Law, Order and Postwar Purge in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (1944 - 1955): Transitional Justice and Redistribution through the example of Justice, Gendarmerie and Police

The present doctoral thesis examines the strategies and redistributive effects of political purge in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg after World War II. It examines in detail the judicial and administrative purge of justice personnel, magistrates, police officers and gendarmerie corps members, and the development of law and order in the 20th century. This study treats regulated purge measures as phenomena of transitional justice. In Luxembourg’s case, the transition in question is one of restorative and redistributive kind: The prewar sociopolitical order is largely restored, however, in the ranks of the state administrations, redistributive practices of purge have changed the internal order. The imperfect, yet initially quite severe judicial and administrative sanctions have laid the foundations for national myths and narratives that have for many years clouded the historical analysis of both the occupation and the postwar period. This happened through the redistribution of symbolic capital during the purge proceedings by classifying persons into “patriots” and “antipatriots”. The struggle of the “antipatriots” to regain their symbolic, financial and political capital after the war and their antagonism with the heterogeneous group of “patriots” often focused on perceived or real financial and professional disadvantages. While the redistribution of financial capital was gradually reversed in the postwar and efforts for reconciliation set in almost immediately after 1945, the redistribution of symbolic capital led to a social divide that was successively forgotten through the emergence of the master narrative of collective resistance.

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