top of page



ZPB_Web Graphics-45.png
ZPB_Web Graphics-58.png
ZPB_Web Graphics-56.png
1910:    born in the Belgian colony of Congo, son of a Luxembourger and a Congolese woman

1912:    comes to Luxembourg to live with his grandparents

1929:   works as railwayman in France, then in Luxembourg

1942:    registration of “negroes” and “negro half-breeds” under the Nuremberg Race Laws

1941-1942:    loses his job as railway employee; harassment by the Nazis as “negro half-breed”
ZPB_Web Graphics_saumon-71.png

Es können nur Angehörige arischer Abstammung in den deutschen Staatsdienst aufgenommen werden. Der Obengenannte ist Mischling, seine Mutter ist eine Eingeborene des Belg. Kongo. Ich bitte deshalb, L(eurs) aus dem Dienst der Deutschen Reichsbahn zu entlassen und mich hiervon in Kenntnis zu setzen.
Letter from the NSDAP district leader, 4 Apr. 1941

Registration of “negroes” and “negro half-breeds”, 14 Oct. 1942
The son of a Congolese woman and a Luxembourger, Jacques Leurs was one of Luxembourg’s first black citizens. He grew up with his grandparents in Dommeldange. In 1929 he began working as a railwayman in France, but he returned to Luxembourg in 1930. In 1938 he married Léonie Reinert, a Luxembourger.
The Nazis viewed people like Jacques Leurs as “inferior”. His marriage to Léonie, a white “Aryan” Luxembourger, was considered “racial disgrace” in their eyes. Jacques Leurs lost his job on 1 July 1941 and, together with his wife, was forcibly transferred to work in the Dommeldange steelworks. In September 1942 the couple was forced to vacate their rented flat in Luxembourg City. Between then and September 1944 Léonie was summoned several times to the German “civil administration” with the aim of forcing her to divorce. She was even threatened with the forced castration of her husband.
The couple had to spend many years living in fear and uncertainty.
ZPB_Web Graphics_saumon-71.png

Nous avons préparé deux valises de 3O kg chacune.
Nous les laissions ouvertes, dans notre chambre à coucher. Chaque matin, nous nous attendions à être arrêtés et emmenés quelque part. 

Léonie Reinert, contemporary witness interview (Schwaarze Mann, Un Noir parmi nous), 2017

There were still two “negro half-breeds” living in Luxembourg City in 1942, including Jacques Leurs, 17 Oct. 1942

Je vous informe qu’en temps voulu, si vous persistez à refuser le divorce de votre mari, nous annulerons votre mariage sans votre consentement. Nous serons alors dans l’obligation d’émasculer votre mari. Vous ne devez pas avoir d’enfants.

Léonie Reinert, contemporary witness interview, recalling a statement by Dr Unger (Schwaarze Mann, Un Noir parmi nous), 2017

Leonie Reinert and Jacques Leurs shortly before their wedding, ca. 1938
bottom of page