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Obtaining an Austrian passport for victims of persecution by the Nazi regime

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

Gáspár Erőss

If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.

Eden Weiss

Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.

Kfir Cohen

We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them

Greg Olson

We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.

Matthias Oppliger

I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.


We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.

Sophie Cooperman

Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.

Esty A

I had a consultation with Batya and she was very helpful. She made sure I understood all the information I needed, and was patient with me in gathering documents I needed.

lynn vonne

Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.

TarcisioePotira Freitas

I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.

Alexander P Gutterman

EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.

Israel iluz

We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.

Tomer Hila Birnbach

I received a recommendation from friends about the firm, and indeed every word is correct, a service team, professional, welcoming, a fair price for the work I requested, I am satisfied

Dongdiet & Nellie

We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.

Josh W-S

The firm had a quick response to my last-minute needs, they were helpful in communicating with me in English, and they fulfilled my needs in a timely fashion.

Shurouq Hajyassin

We were very satisfied with the consultation we had.
You were very straightforward with us , You tried to help us in every way you could . we really appreciate that.
And of course the fast reply we got from you on our emails and the appointment you gave us .
You deserve more than 5 stars????

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

Prima Lorenzo

I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.

Andreas Kelling

We have been working with Decker, Pex & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.

Jacob Newberry

A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!

Michael and Ariellah Waizman

For Advocate Joshua Pex.

We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.

The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!

The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.

We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!

Dumitrascu Cristina

Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.

Adi Katina

Great Team. With no doubt, this office is actually thee best-leading office in Israel. Simply put, if you want your case to win, just join them, hand in your documents, and celebrate the victory.

Kindest regards,
Adi k.

Paul Prince

The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.

Arielle Bosch

Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.

Stuart Safft

I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.

Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.

Heather Lebrun

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

Michael Soffer

I would like to recommend Attorney Yehuda Elcharar. He assisted both me and my company in a complex lawsuit. He handled negotiations that led to a favorable outcome much quicker than expected.

I am extremely pleased with choosing Attorney Elcharar. Many thanks also to the office team, Oz and Chaya, for their assistance throughout the entire process.

Thanks again ????

Наталья Мажуга

Great lawyers Joshua Pex and Nechama and Michael Deker who really want to help you and I have very trustful relationships with them. All my cases they took they won. Thank you and let’s keep working together

Lilian Granovsky

I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.

Sergei m Vashkevich

We came to Mr. Joshua with so many questions (and most of all, with so many concerns and worries) …

When we explained our case to him, first of all, he calmed us down and helped us to see the big picture, which took away our fears;

Then he presented us with a detailed explanation and a few options to explore, and a timeline, how things work and necessary steps to undertake on our part,

We thank and highly recommend Mr. Joshua for showing us so much empathy, care and professionalism (!)

Priscilla Moses

competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended

Lauma Zariņa

This is definitely the best lawyer I know!!! very honest and super helpful he really helped me a lot dealing with immigration issues in Israel and it was very successful!
I highly recommend

Amir Abt

The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them

Sveta Vashkevich

We (myself and my husband) came to Mr. Joshua Pex – for his professional advice – and we received such human warmth and caring attitude, that our hearts melted …

His attention to our details and our situation peculiarities, combined with his professionalism and knowledge, helped us to map out what needs to be done on our part: we appreciate and recommend You, Mr. Joshua!

Morgan Jones

The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!


We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.

Marce Ruth St. Rey

Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.

Genaan Abdelall

I cannot recommend Nechama enough! Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication to her clients is unparalleled. From the moment I reached out to her, she provided clear and concise communication, and helped me navigate through a complex legal issue with ease.

Throughout the entire process, Nechama went above and beyond to ensure that I was informed and comfortable with every decision. She demonstrated a deep knowledge of the law, and was able to offer sound advice that ultimately led to a positive outcome.

What sets Nechama apart is her compassionate and empathetic approach to her clients. She truly cares about the well-being of her clients, and it shows in the way she handles every case.

If you are in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend Nechama.

Michelle Long

Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!

Shaltiel Devorah

Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.

 Austria, located in central Europe, is a country with a rich history and culture, and is currently considered one of the most advanced and stable countries in the world. Israelis who obtain an Austrian European passport for Nazi persecution victims and their descendants will be able to hold it simultaneously with their Israeli passport, and will not be required to give up their Israeli citizenship. In fact, these people become dual citizens.

The geography of Austria

Austria borders no less than eight different countries – Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Lichtenstein – a strategic location in central Europe which contributes to the Austrian economy and culture. Although Austria’s population is similar to Israel’s (about nine million), its area is four times larger, and hence its population density is significantly lower than that of Israel.

The political system in Austria

The political system in Austria is a republican democracy, with the republic divided into nine states (“Länder”). Each state has its own parliament, but compared to federations such as the United States or Germany, in Austria almost all political and legal authority is vested in the central government. In 1995 Austria joined the European Union and in 1999 it joined the Eurozone.

Obtaining an Austrian passport for victims of Nazi persecution

The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Jews

The Austro-Hungarian Empire, which ruled the current territory of Austria from 1867 to 1918, was one of the most powerful political forces in Europe. At its peak, about 51 million people lived in the empire, of which about 2 million were Jews (about four percent of the population). The emperor Franz Joseph granted the Jews full equal rights, and as a result they were assimilated into the culture and economy of the empire, and had a huge influence on Austrian culture. The most familiar name among Austrian Jews is of course Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalytic theory, and one of the most prominent figures in modern human history. Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl, the father of Zionism, also studied at the University of Vienna, and was the editor of the leading liberal newspaper “Neue freie Presse” (New Free Press).

Austrian Jews after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

In 1918, after WWI, the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated, and the empire’s territories were divided among several countries, including the First Austrian Republic. During this period, over a quarter of a million Jews lived in Austria. The vast majority of Austrian Jews lived in Vienna, over ten percent of whose residents were Jewish – among them tens of thousands of Jews who immigrated to the city from the east of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, without ever becoming Austrian citizens.

Austrian Jews after the Nazis’ rise to power

In 1933, the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, which led, among other things, to a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Austria. In 1934, the Austro-Fascist Party came to power, and on March 12, 1938, the “Anschluss” (annexation in German) took place, in which the Third Reich annexed Austria and enforced the racial laws (Nuremberg Laws) on the Jewish community in Austria.

In 1938, the infamous Adolf Eichmann was appointed “Head of the Jewish Department in Austria”. Under Eichmann, the Nazis confiscated the Jews’ property and forcibly deported them from Austria. Up until the outbreak of the war, over 125 thousand Jews were deported from Austria to 89 different countries. Unfortunately, the majority of the Jews who remained in Austria after the outbreak of WWII were slaughtered in the Holocaust – about 50,000 people. On top of that, about 15,000 Austrian Jews who immigrated to other European countries were murdered during the occupation of Europe by the Nazis. According to the new Austrian legislation, the direct descendants of all these Jews will be entitled to receive Austrian citizenship.

What is the new legislation that enables an Austrian passport for people persecuted by the Nazi regime and their direct descendants?

Wishing to take responsibility for the atrocities committed by the Nazis, in 2019 the Austrian Parliament enacted Amendment C58 to the Austrian Citizenship Law, which entered into force in September 2020. Since the amendment did not allow the granting of citizenship to all descendants of those persecuted by the Nazi regime, for various reasons, the Austrian Parliament passed an expanded provision, which entered into effect in May 2022. The expanded provision allows those persecuted by the Nazi regime and their direct descendants (including grandchildren and great-grandchildren), including people who lived in Austrian territories without citizenship, and were forced to flee the country, to receive Austrian citizenship. According to estimates, over 200,000 Israelis are entitled to an Austrian passport based on the new legislation.

You can read about the criteria defining a “persecuted person” in the context of the amendment on the Austrian Embassy’s website.

What possibilities do European passport holders enjoy?

Holders of a European passport enjoy, among other things, the possibility to live, work and study (in many places for free) in any of the 27 countries that are members of the European Union. In addition, the passport grants access to countries that Israelis cannot enter, and even the possibility of entering the United States without the need to issue a visa in advance. It should be noted that Austria’s position in the Union is stable, and public opinion polls indicate that the vast majority of the country’s citizens are interested in Austria remaining part of the European Union.

Democracy in Austria

According to the democracy index of Economist magazine, Austria was ranked 20th in 2022, and is defined as a “full democracy”. Austria has a constitution, and the Constitutional Court is authorized to review the legality of laws passed by the parliament, administrative regulations and violation of constitutional rights of the country’s residents. Like the other member states of the European Union, it is subject to the laws of the European Union and is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights – which is an additional reinforcement for the protection of human rights in the country, since any person who claims to have been harmed as a result of a violation of this convention may appeal directly to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that they have suffered a human rights violation by Austria.

The Austrian economy

Austria’s economy is capitalist, and is in 22nd place in the global economic liberty index (by comparison, Israel is in 43rd place), with its gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for purchasing power, placing it in 14th place in the world (Israel is in 29th place). The disparities with Israel become even more prominent when considering the two countries’ positions in the “Gini Index“, which examines economic inequality in society; while Austria is ranked 21st in the world, with 29.7 index points, Israel is ranked 85th, with 37 index points (a value of 0 means a completely equal distribution of wealth, and a value of 100 means that all income is in the possession of a single person).

Despite the fact that the economy is capitalist, its citizens enjoy particularly generous social benefits. On top of that, about a quarter of the apartments in Austria belong to public housing, and are not subject to market fluctuations.

Austrian citizenship – why must you act quickly?

Austria may decide at any time to tighten the conditions in its legislation for obtaining citizenship, as has happened recently with Portugal. Accordingly, it is advisable not to wait, in order to make sure that the lenient conditions still apply to you and your relatives.

Why is it important to seek help from an attorney who specializes in immigration law in order to obtain an Austrian passport?

Our office specializes in the field of administrative law, including the issue of eligibility for European passports. Office staff members speak the languages of the various countries (in this case German), and are skilled in working with the foreign authorities. For the purpose of obtaining the passport, we locate documents and certificates that prove a client’s family connection to Austria.

The authorities in Austria are very strict, so it is important to know how to deal with them bureaucratically. Those who are not involved in the intricacies of the Austrian bureaucracy may suffer delays in their application, and may even have their application denied – an unnecessary result that can certainly be avoided if you choose to use an attorney. There are quite a few examples of people who started the procedure independently, came up against the wall of bureaucracy, and gave up – where an experienced attorney could have solved the problem. Therefore, it is highly recommended to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.

In order to ascertain your eligibility or the eligibility of your family members for an or for any advice and assistance on the matter, the attorneys from our office are available to you. You can contact us at the phone numbers and email address listed below and schedule a consultation with an immigration law expert at our office, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

This article was written in collaboration with attorney Adam Johnson.

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