Jeanne Rouff is undoubtedly one of the great pioneering women lawyers and defenders of the cause of women in Luxembourg. The lawyer left the bar around 1960 to be appointed legal attaché at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
In 1961, the journalist Liliane Thorn-Petit published an article on the first female judges Anne-Marie Courte, Claire Peters and Jeanne Rouff. In her article, the journalist explained that this appointment came as a shock to the legal community, the very traditional and conservative "judicial family". As a member of the Mouvement pour la Libération de la Femme, Jeanne Rouff actively participated in the drafting of texts on the "rights and duties of spouses" and "matrimonial regimes", which were finally - and not without controversial debates - adopted in 1972 and 1974 by the Chamber of Deputies. At the time, legislation considered women, and especially married women, as minors.
Jeanne Rouff was not only the first female State Prosecutor, but also a Councillor and President of the Chamber of the Court of Appeal. As a member of the Luxembourg Federation of University Women, she co-founded the National Council of Women of Luxembourg, of which she was president in 1997.
Jeanne Rouff is not only distinguished by her exceptional professional career and her commitment to the cause of women. She was an intellectual, cultured woman who was very discreet about her private life. Thanks to the testimony of several members of her family we are able to draw a more intimate portrait. The third child of six siblings, Jeanne spent her childhood in the rue du château in Dommeldange. Her parents were Louis Rouff and Trina von Roesgen. She inherited from her mother her passion for nature - especially roses - and photography. Jeanne Rouff organised a retrospective of her family's photographs at the Cid ¦ Femmes et Genre in 1997.
She was a student at the Lycée de Jeunes filles in Luxembourg and studied at university in Paris before practising as a lawyer at the Luxembourg bar for several years. Jeanne Rouff married Jean Olinger, who was for a long time director of the Administration des contributions directes (1970 to 1990). They first lived in Luxembourg City before settling permanently in Schrassig. Her sisters Gritt and Marie-Louise and her brother Franz left Luxembourg to settle abroad.
The Olinger-Rouff couple was well known in the art world. They were great music lovers and were among the idealists who founded the Wiltz Festival.
Jeanne Rouff passed away on 28 December 2012. Her legacies are archived at Cid ¦ Femmes et Genre.
● Liliane Thorn-Petit: Des femmes magistrats - D'Letzebuerger Land 14/15 April 1961
● Tageblatt 15 July 1947