encounter | conference / debate

Lily Unden | Madeleine Weis-Bauler | Yvonne Useldinger

Why was the resistance of Luxembourg women against the Nazi regime after the end of the war far too little perceived and its importance underestimated? Did the women have different forms of resistance than their male comrades? And why were they unable to contribute the experience and knowledge they had gained during their resistance activities to post-war Luxembourg? Women’s involvement was marginalized in both public memory and historiography, and at best perceived as support for their male relatives. “The women cooked and did the laundry” was sometimes the response to questions about their involvement. In fact, numerous women hid and cared for refugees or other fugitives, but they also contributed significantly to providing those in hiding with forged passports and weapons to get them across the border. Their forms of resistance did not differ significantly from those of their male comrades.

Numerous women were arrested for their efforts and deported to prison or concentration camps. About 200 Luxembourg women were imprisoned in the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp alone. Among them were three women who will now receive special recognition on behalf of all the others: Lily Unden, Madeleine Weis-Bauler, and Yvonne Useldinger. A room has been dedicated to each of them in Luxembourg’s central cultural and meeting place, neimënster. This designation is intended to rescue their biographies from oblivion and at the same time provide an important political commitment and orientation for future generations. These women exemplify courage, commitment, solidarity, and humanity in difficult, inhumane times.

All three women shared a passion: they were artistically active. Yvonne Useldinger’s numerous drawings from the Ravensbrück concentration camp have survived, we know Lily Unden as a successful artist, and Madeleine Weis-Bauler has left us a remarkable late work. They have already been honored in the past with successful exhibitions at neimënster. Now their names, and with them their stories, move to this historic place as a permanent fixture.

The historian and literary scholar Dr. Kathrin Meß will present the lives and resistance activities of these women and also ask to what extent they were able to use their experiences to become socially involved in post-war Luxembourg after 1945.

Die Luxemburgerinnen Lily Unden, Madeleine Weis-Bauler und Yvonne Useldinger im Widerstand gegen die nationalsozialistische Diktatur

  • Free admission


Ville de Luxembourg 

Main organisers



Ville de Luxembourg