Greek Holocaust survivors who lost citizenship after leaving their native country in the 1930’s will be eligible to regain this citizenship, according to a recent legislation, a spokeswoman at Greece’s embassy in Tel Aviv said earlier this week.
Three Holocaust survivors went to the embassy this week and formally asked for Greek passports, the spokeswoman said.
The legislation has been in conversation ever since Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who has dramatically steered Athens’s policy toward Israels in a positive direction, took power in 2009.
Karolos Papoulias, Greece’s president, told a group of Greek Holocaust survivors he met with that he would look into returning passports to the descendants of Jews who lost their citizenship in the 1930s. Among these Jews were hundreds of port workers who came from Salonika to build Haifa Port.
Some of the descendants of these workers, as well as descendants of Greek Holocaust survivors, are keen on regaining the Greek passport because it will enable them to live and work in any of the 27 EU countries. In recent years, thousands of Israelis have sought European passports on the basis of their parents’ or grandparents’ ancestry.
Implementation of the new law “puts an end to one period and signals the beginning of a new one. This law makes possible giving Greek citizenship to Jews of Greek origin who, together with the tragedy of the Holocaust, have also faced difficulties of emigration and being cutoff from the place of their birth,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.