Jacob Resnick

Quick Passages to European Citizenship for People Affected by the Holocaust

If you are Jewish and affected by the holocaust then you may qualify for citizenship in some European countries. Germany and Austria, for example, have programs that allow for descendants of holocaust survivors quickly and easily obtain citizenship to the country. The process to obtain such citizenship is commonplace in Jewish concentrated areas, such as Israel. 

Eligibility Criteria for Israeli Citizens:

Israeli citizens, or any Jewish person, typically would need to establish a familial connection to their country of historical persecution. Generally, this is done through parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents. The countries that allow for citizenship due to persecution include Germany and Austria. If you are a descendant of Jewish people that were made to flee Germany or Austria, then you may be eligible for citizenship. 


Necessary Steps for Israeli Citizens:

The process of acquiring European citizenship for Israeli citizens based on Holocaust heritage involves extensive research, documentation, and engagement with the relevant European countries. The first step is gathering evidence to support the ancestral connection to the Holocaust. This may include birth certificates, marriage records, and historical documents that demonstrate the familial ties.

Israeli citizens can then go through the court system for the government of choice, as well as the Israeli government for necessary documentation. It is incredibly helpful to find legal aid to navigate the courts. It is essential for citizens to familiarize themselves with the court process and proceedings in order to ensure their documentation and requests are followed through.

Government Procedures for Israeli Citizens:

The procedures for Israeli citizens seeking European citizenship based on Holocaust heritage can vary among European countries. Some countries may automatically (with simple application) grant citizenship to eligible Israeli citizens who can establish a direct lineage to Holocaust victims. Others may require the submission of an application and supporting documents to prove eligibility.

Refusal of Consent and Obtaining Consent:

In some cases, families with the necessary information may refuse to cooperate and will not provide the documentation. This is incredibly tricky because some national archives require consent from the individuals to provide the documents. In such a situation, the solution can be as easy as a discussion with the disgruntled family member. However, another fix is to proceed with a legal battle in which the government may give the information or persuade the unwilling family to provide the information anyway. For example, I sat in an Israeli family court hearing where a grandmother was unwilling to provide documentation due to a rift in the family. Although unfortunate, it should not hinder the children’s ability to become a citizen of the nation that historically persecuted them. With legal help, the issue went forward through the court system, and the Judge ruled in the favor of the children requesting citizenship. 

Legal Challenges and Israeli Citizens:

Engaging in legal proceedings can be a lengthy, emotionally taxing, and expensive process. However, Israeli citizens who have a strong case supported by evidence and legal arguments have a higher chance of securing European citizenship through the judicial system. European courts generally prioritize justice and acknowledge the impact of the Holocaust, leading to a greater likelihood of success for Israeli citizens seeking European citizenship based on Holocaust heritage.

This SHOULD be done!

For Israeli citizens seeking European citizenship based on their familial connection to Holocaust victims, the path is complex but attainable. By establishing a direct lineage to Holocaust victims, conducting thorough research, and navigating the specific regulations of each European country, Israeli citizens can embark on a journey to honor their heritage and seek recognition within the European Union. While challenges may arise, the pursuit of justice and acknowledgment of the Holocaust’s impact can pave the way for a brighter future for Israeli citizens seeking European citizenship.


Read more about the laws for applying for German Citizenship here, and Austrian Citizenship here. For legal help, dial +972 3-3724722 or visit our website.


Jake Resnick,

+1 8563258048

About the Author
Student at Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of the Israeli situation.