Born on 31 January in Esch-sur-Alzette, Lydie Schmit comes from a working class family. She obtained a doctorate in philosophy and literature and became a secondary school teacher. Her application for admission to the teaching profession, "Beitrag zur geschichtlichen Entwicklung der Luxemburger Gewerkschaften" (Contribution on the historical development of the Luxembourg trade unions), already shows her interest in the labour movement. From the 1970s onwards, politics played an important role in her life: she became a member of the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and was its president from 1974. She was the first woman to hold such a position, after a split in the party. Lydie Schmit was also involved in municipal politics in Schifflange (1976-1988) and became general secretary of the "Socialist Women".
In 1979, she was elected to parliament, but after a year she withdrew from national politics to return to her job. In 1980, she became president of the "Sozialistische Fraueninternationale" and thus automatically vice-president of the "Sozialistische Internationale". In the European Parliament, she was mainly interested in women's politics and international solidarity. During this time, she established contacts with many international left-wing personalities such as Olof Palme, Willy Brandt and Mario Soares. She was unequivocally against all wars, against the glorification of militarism and especially against nuclear energy and its many dangers.
But at the same time, she became increasingly involved in women's rights within the Socialist International. She passed a resolution that all socialist parties should introduce parity between men and women in their leadership.
A passionate traveller, Lydie Schmit was interested in a wide range of subjects, from pacifism to environmental protection. In 1979, she approached the director of the Archives Paul Spang with the aim of entrusting him with her documents of both a public and private nature.
When she died on 7 April 1988 after a serious illness, Mars di Bartolomeo wrote in his obituary:
"Lydie Schmit was not a pragmatic politician. She liked to dream of great goals and was of the opinion that one could very well set a higher goal than the one one thought able to achieve in the immediate future, without being utopian or unrealistic".
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of this politician, the Lydie Schmit Foundation has published her biography and the National Archives are offering a tour through her private collection to illustrate the richness and importance of preserving this type of document.
● National Archives of Luxembourg.
● 100 Joer Internationalen Fraendag, CID-femmes Portrait Lydie Schmit - Une Socialiste intègre (http://fraendag.lu/fr/personlichkeiten/lydie-schmit-1939-1988).
● Schoul Scheffleng - Jean Hansen http://www.schoulscheffleng.lu