Before the trip to Cyprus, families of victims of National Socialism were given citizenship


As part of his trip to Israel and before moving on to Cyprus, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) on Wednesday handed Austrian citizenship to nine descendants of victims of the Nazi regime — including the Greenberg family. As a result of the amendment to the Citizenship Act, approximately 15,000 people, including many Israeli citizens, have been able to obtain Austrian citizenship.

Nehammer also dedicated his visit to Israel to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. He received old Austrians in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning and then visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. In the Memorial Hall, Nehammer lit fire for the Jews murdered by the Nazis and apologized in a subsequent speech for the role of the Austrian Nazi perpetrators. The crimes committed then must never be forgotten and must never be repeated. Austria supports Yad Vashem with 1.5 million euros until 2024, explains Nehammer.

When citizenship was transferred, the Chancellor said: “We cannot make up for the atrocities of the National Socialist reign of terror. But we can give you everything that belongs to you: namely Austrian citizenship and with it your roots and your family history. Austria is committed to protecting and supporting Jewish life and culture in Austria. Thank you for welcoming you as Austrian citizens from today.”

Onward journey to Cyprus
The chancellor was also accompanied by the president of the Jewish Community, Oskar Deutsch, during his visit to Israel. Nehammer and Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (both ÖVP) traveled to Cyprus on Wednesday for an official visit. The program includes meetings with President Nikos Anastasiadis and Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides and a visit to the UNFICYP peacekeeping force. The Koshi UN memorial in Larnaca commemorates three Austrian UNFICYP peacekeepers who were killed in an airstrike in 1974.

Cypriot economy suffers significantly from sanctions against Russia
In addition to bilateral relations, the focus of the political talks is mainly on the fight against illegal migration, which also affects Cyprus particularly hard. Other topics include security and stability in Europe’s southern neighbours, energy issues and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Like Malta and Greece, Cyprus had spoken out against a ban on the transport of Russian oil to third countries. The Cypriot economy has already been hit hard by sanctions against Russia, including the flight ban on Russian planes. In addition, there are major tensions with Turkey because of the natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 after a Greek coup d’état and a Turkish military intervention. The northern part of the island is recognized as a state only by Turkey. Cyprus has been part of the European Union since 2004, but the rules only apply to the southern part of Greece. All negotiations to overcome the division have so far failed.

Source: Krone


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