The 'Tehran Children'
Photo: GPO
'Children of Tehran' challenge State bureaucracy in court
Group of Polish holocaust survivors smuggled to Israel via Iran during WWII demand funds promised to them as part of German-Israeli reparations program signed in 1950s be funneled

The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday held its first hearing in the case of "The Children of Tehran," seven years after the lawsuit was filed.


The "Children of Tehran" was the name given to a group of orphaned children gathered in Europe in the midst of World War II by the Jewish Agency and smuggled to via Tehran in 1943.


The plaintiffs claimed that the State has been deliberately stalling their case for years in hopes they won't survive to collect the funds. The State, on its part, claimed they were not entitled to the compensation because they arrive in Israel during the war.


The claim centered around hundreds of holocaust survivors who were smuggled to Israel through Tehran during WWII. The children were promised compensations as part of a reparations agreement signed between Germany and Israel in the 1950s, but never received any of the funds.


Several dozens of them arrived at the hearing and angrily told the court that the State has been dragging its feet dealing with their case, so that eventually there would be no one left to claim the funds, as there were all new in thier golden years. Dozens of the plaintiffs originally part of the claim have already died, and it now consists of 216 plaintiffs.


"This is the moment of truth for the State of Israel and The Jewish Agency to give moral and financial justice to the Holocaust survivors" said attorney Gad Weissfeld, who represents the "Children of Tehran" pro bono.


Weissfeld added that "the conduct of the State and the JA has been shameful up until today. If Swiss banks or the Generali insurance company would have brought up the same claims that were made against the survivors, the Israeli public and the whole world would have been shocked.


"The state of Israel decided to start an exhausting legal battle on the expense of these old survivors. They are tired of false promises and delays. Their numbers are diminishing and it is time to do them justice before it is too late."


פרסום ראשון: 09.03.09, 17:11
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