Austrian government still wants to give citizenship to descendants of Holocaust victims

Austrian officials insisted that the government in Vienna remains fully committed to advancing legislation granting citizenship to the descendants of Austrian Holocaust victims, rebuffing a report claiming that parts of the ruling coalition were stalling on the promised reform.

“Amending the Austrian Citizenship Law in order to extend the Austrian citizenship to Shoah victims’ descendants enjoys wide support by all political parties represented in the Austrian Parliament,” said Martin Weiss, the Austrian ambassador to Israel.

“It is true that the current overhaul of the Austrian Citizenship Law, of which this provision is part of, is a slow process. However, amending basic citizenship laws is — entirely unrelated to the issue of extending the Austrian citizenship to Shoah victims’ descendants — always a politically sensitive process,” he added.

Besides the descendants of Holocaust victims, the planned citizenship law reform would also include granting Austrian passports to German speakers in South Tyrol and UK citizens with Austrian roots.

The current government has repeatedly committed itself to extending Austrian citizenship to the descendants of Holocaust victims, including in a formal decision in March, Weiss added. Indeed, the move “enjoys wide support by all political parties represented in the Austrian parliament,” he stressed.

Austria would first have to withdraw from a 1968 European Council Convention on the Reduction of Cases of Multiple Nationality and on Military Obligations in Cases of Multiple Nationality, she argued.

According to current Austrian law, only children — but not grandchildren — of Austrian citizens persecuted during the Holocaust could claim Austrian nationality.

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