Lily Becker, born in 1898 in Luxembourg, joined the workers' movement at an early age, joined the Socialist Party in April 1919 and became a committed activist. Her interest in politics was sparked by her mother, who was herself a member of the Socialist Party and of the Luxembourg City Council in 1924. The young Lily Becker made a spontaneous speech at the demonstration in the capital on 13 August 1919, dealing with the cost of living premium and food prices. These flamboyant words are considered to be the beginning of her lifelong political commitment.¹
From 1919 onwards, she tried to create an "Association of Female Employees and Workers". In the newspaper "Der Proletarier" she called: "Wake up! Comrades! (...) My sister, you who have to do hard work day in and day out in the dusty atmosphere of the factory; my friend, you who sit in a poorly ventilated counter in front of big books; you, my colleague, who in the workshop pricks your hands until your blood runs cold; you, my comrade, who stand behind a shop counter all month long for a miserable wage; all of you who have worries and toil, come to us, come with us."²
In 1920, she gave up her job as a shop assistant and became assistant secretary for the secretariat of the trade union committee set up that same year. At the May Day demonstration in Esch-sur-Alzette in 1920, the young woman spoke in public. In the weekly newspaper "Proletarier", she wrote articles under the heading "Criticism of the times", mainly on women's issues and social problems. When the Workers' Chamber was founded in 1924, the young trade union official took over the secretariat, a position she held until 1937. In 1927, Lily helped found the women's organisation "Foyer de la Femme" and became its vice-president.
When she joined the Socialist Party in 1919, Lily Becker met Pierre Krier, a trade unionist and member of parliament at the time. Their common passion for the workers' cause led to their love. Lily Becker married Pierre Krier on 7 May 1923 in Esch/Alzette. Their strong commitment to their professional and political life and their fast pace of life, as well as their sense of responsibility, prevented them from having children in those difficult times. Lily Krier-Becker, who is very committed to her husband, says of herself that she quickly learned to become independent and to make decisions on her own! However, when her husband became a member of the government in 1937, Lily stopped all political and trade union activities. After the war, she was back in the public eye.
In the 1930s Lily Krier-Becker was among those who supported refugees from Nazi Germany. The couple fled Luxembourg in 1940, and were themselves targeted by the Nazis. Lily Krier-Becker remained in France, in Avallon, while her husband, still in his position as Minister of Labour, had to go into exile first in Portugal, where Lily managed to join him in Lisbon after six months of separation. The couple lived in London and then in the United States. On 15 November 1944, the Tageblatt published an article by Lily Krier-Becker from New York entitled "Glossen zur Wahl Roosevelts". Until 1950, Lily Krier-Becker remained a member of the party leadership, was involved in the European movement and wrote articles for the trade union press.
In 1979 she expressed her disappointment with the introduction of the right to vote in 1919 in an article: "At that time, women didn't care at all. They were given the right to vote as a gift to save the dynasty. The trade unionist died in October 1981.
● ¹ Renée Wagener, "...wie eine frühreife Frucht. Zur Geschichte des Frauenwahlrechts in Luxemburg, Luxembourg 1994, pp. 84-85.
● Ben Fayot, Lily Krier-Becker (1898-1981), in: Tageblatt of 5 November 1981 no. 252, p. 8.
● ² Goffinet, Viviane: 'Die Arbeiterinnen sollen heraustreten aus dem Schatten ihrer Maschinen [...]': Frauen und Gewerkschaften zwischen 1900 und 1938, in: 'Wenn nun wir Frauen auch das Wort ergreifen ...', pp. 239-254.
● Lily Krier-Becker: "Pierre Krier. Ein Lebensbild", Luxembourg, 1957.