Tens of thousands of Israelis, whose reatives fled Austria due to Nazi persecutiom, from next month will now be able to obtain Austrian citizinship free of charge.
Austria Ambassador to Israel Hannah Liko, confirmed the news on Sunday, adding the service will be free of charge.
On September 19, 2019, the Austrian parliament unanimously approved an amendment to the Citizenship Law, which allows Holocaust survivors and their descendants to obtain Austrian citizenship without relinquishing their current one.
The amendment is part of an effort by the Austrian government and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to reconcile with those who had suffered under the country's Nazi regime from 1938 until the end of World War II in 1945.
Previously, only the survivors themselves were entitled to receive the citizenship. Furthermore, citizenship was offered only to those who left Austria before 1945.
Now, the law applies to anyone who was a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or lived in Austria before March 12, 1938, the date the Third Reich annexed the country.
Israelis interested in an Austrian citizenship can start the process by answering an online questionnaire on the website of the Austrian Embassy in Israel.
Applicants will receive detailed instructions for the documents they must submit to the Austrian embassy in Israel starting September 1.
The documents can be filled and submitted via the embassy's website, while appointments to fill in and submit declarations can be made by phone or online until the end of August.
Ambassador Liko stressed that no legal consultation was required in order to complete the process.
There are currently about 8,000 Israeli citizens with Austrian passports. The Austrian Embassy emphasizes that there is no assessment of how many Israelis will be able to obtain an Austrian citizenship under the new amendment.
So far, at least 1,500 Israelis have contacted the embassy and expressed interest in filling out the declaration in order to receive an Austrian passport.