Greece passes 'law of return' for Jews who fled

By Marcus Dysch, March 21, 2014
The Acropolis in Athens (Photo: Glenlarson)

The Acropolis in Athens (Photo: Glenlarson)

Greece has passed legislation allowing Jews who fled the country before the end of the Second World War the "right of return" and to claim citizenship.

Former deputy foreign minister Dimitrios Dollis instigated the new law - which will come into effect within a month.

He said it was unlikely many Jews would claim Greek citizenship, but that he had acted out of principle.

Mr Dollis told Israeli media that Greece wanted to "correct past mistakes".

Around 100,000 Jews lived in Greece before the war, spread across 30 communities around the country. After the Shoah only around 5,000 Jews remained.

Mr Dollis said a trip to Israel in 2010 had made him aware of the seriousness of Greece's loss. He spent almost 30 years living in Australia, where he was close to members of the Jewish community and particularly Holocaust survivors.

The rise of the far right Golden Dawn party in recent years has caused concern for Greek Jews.

The politician said Jews who applied for Greek citizenship would also be able to pass it on automatically to their children.

Last updated: 10:22am, March 21 2014