Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

New Law In Greece, Descendants Of Holocaust Survivors Can Now Apply For Citizenship

(JTA) — Greek lawmakers passed a parliamentary amendment that will allow descendants of Holocaust survivors from Greece to apply for citizenship.

The amendment passed on Thursday was praised on Saturday by the head of the country’s Central Board of Jewish Communities, the French news agency AFP reported.

“This is a moral victory,” and a “fresh step forward in the recognition of the history of the Holocaust and of Greek Jews,” Central Board President David Saltiel told AFP.

The Greek government in September 2011 passed an amendment to a new foreign resident law that automatically reinstated Greek citizenship for all Jews that were born in or before 1945. The number of Greek Jews affected by that amendment was about 300. The new amendment affects their descendants, most of whom live in Israel, according to AFP.

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party voted against the legislation. It is the fourth largest party in the parliament.

More than 50,000 Jews lived in the Greek city of Thessaloniki before the Holocaust. Some 80 percent were killed by the Nazis or their proxies. Today there are fewer than 5,000 Jews in Greece.

The governments of both Spain and Portugual passed laws of return for Sephardic Jews in recent years   as what they consider symbolic rectification for the murder, mass deportations and forced conversions to Christianity of their Jews during the 15th and 16th centuries, during what came to be known as the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition. Spain reportedly has naturalized more than 4,900 applicants for citizenship by Sephardim since the law went into effect last year.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.