The Greek Parliament voted in favor of granting citizenship to descendants of Greek Jews, Holocaust survivors, on Friday. The voting took place after decades of delay. In 2011, the Greek government had voted in favor of granting citizenship to elderly Greek Jews who had survived the Holocaust.
It is estimated that 20,000 descendants of Holocaust survivors of Greek origin live in Israel, while several thousands are believe to live in the USA.
Some 60,000-70,000 Greek Jews, or at least 81% of the country’s Jewish population, were murdered by Nazi Germany.
All political parties voted in favor of the bill, except for Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy that voted “present” and far-right Golden Dawn that voted against it.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras critizined ND tweeting:
Δεν εκπλήσσει κανέναν η καταψήφιση από τη ΧΑ. H @neademokratia όμως οφείλει να ντρέπεται για την υποκριτική της στάση. (3/3)
— Alexis Tsipras (@atsipras) March 17, 2017
No one is surprised of the down voting by GD. New Democracy ought to be ashamed of its hypocritical behavior.
New Democracy said in a statement it did not vote in favor “accidentally” and that its position on the issue was clear and recorded in the minutes of the parliament session.
According to an article by Jerusalem Post, dated 2010, there were approximately 100 Holocaust survivors in Israel who would be granted citizenship.
On the occasion of the visit of former Prime Minister George Papandreou to Israel,
the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Dollis told the Post that the papers would be processed within months, and the survivors would be holders of Greek ID cards by early 2011.
While all of the survivors are elderly and the move would be mostly symbolic for them, the Greek minister had said that their descendants would then be able to file requests with the Greek Embassy to receive citizenship as children of naturalized Greek citizens.
As a member state of the European Union, Greek citizenship automatically grants its holders all the privileges of being a citizen of the EU.
The law valid as of 30 September 2011, affected victims of Holocaust, citizens of Isreael who were born in Greece until 9 May 1945 as Greek citizens and lost their Greek citizenship for various reasons.
In November 2012,six Holocaust survivors regained the Greek citizenship.
According to a report, a ceremony at the Greek embassy in Tel-Aviv on Tuesday witnessed a naturalisation ceremony for six Holocaust survivors who were born and raised in Greece up until WWII.
Another 160 requests for the reinstatement of citizenship to Greek Jews that emigrated from the country in the wake of the war were pending, according to the Greek envoy, who expressed his optimism that they would soon be fulfilled.
It was estimated that a total of 300-350 elderly Greek Jews could get their Greek citizenship back.
With regards to latest Law about granting citizenship to descendants, please, contact Greece’s diplomatic missions abroad.