Skip to content
Contact Us: 03-3724722 | 055-9781688 | [email protected]

Obtaining German Citizenship – History of German Jews

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

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

Shaltiel Devorah

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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 ????

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.

Priscilla Moses

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

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????

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.

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.

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 (!)

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.

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

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

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.

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.

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!


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.

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.

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.

Lilian Granovsky

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

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!

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.

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

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.


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.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

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

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!

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.

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

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.

Eden Weiss

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

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.

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.

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

German Jews have a long and complex history dating back to the Middle Ages, with the first mentions of the community appearing in the 4th century AD. In the 19th century, Jews in Germany gained legal rights and social acceptance (the Emancipation), and contributed to German society in fields such as science, medicine and the arts. However, the rise of anti-Semitic sentiments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which culminated in the Nazi regime’s rise to power in 1933, led to the persecution and murder of millions of German Jews during the Holocaust.

This article aims to promote the possibilities of obtaining German citizenship that were changed in August 2021 regarding victims of Nazi persecution and their descendants. Since this change, hundreds of thousands of Israelis related to Nazi persecution victims are able to apply for and obtain high-quality European citizenship. The article presents the history of German Jews throughout the generations and at the end also addresses the legal aspect of obtaining a German passport.

German Citizenship for Descendants of German Jews

The history of German Jews

The early history of German Jews and the beginnings of the community’s formation are relatively unknown. However, a single reference in 321 CE by the Roman Emperor Constantine regarding a Jewish community in the city of Cologne cleared up some of the uncertainty surrounding the community’s beginnings. The reference appeared in a decree issued by the Emperor allowing local residents as well as Jews to take part in the local labor market.

This decree is considered historic not merely because it mentions the city’s Jews, but also because it heralds their freedom as citizens with equal rights alongside the residents with whom they lived. The document officially recognizes the right of the Jews to take an active part in municipal jobs together with members of the city’s elite. In addition, it officially permits them to engage in any administrative or financial position they wished.

The document tells us not only about the presence of Jews in the city, but also about their relatively high socio-economic standing. According to the document, it can be proven that their population was large, and that they were also economically involved and held prestigious public positions. Accordingly, it is claimed that the community’s early prosperity was responsible for attracting more Jews, especially from the Roman Empire.

Although this period of time is not documented on paper in a detailed historical manner, it is known in research as a peaceful period of time, in which Jews enjoyed extraordinary social equality and were allowed to live where they wanted. Research also claims that, similar to the locals, the Jews did not have a high level of literacy (due to a lack of correspondence) and were not proficient in reading and writing foreign languages, but only the Hebrew alphabet for the purpose of prayer.

Although the literacy that accompanied Jews for generations, granting them an advantage over the locals, did not exist then, it nevertheless seems that they secured themselves a high reputation and were a decisive factor in raising the prestige of the cities in which they were resided. As far as is known, the cities they lived in at this early stage of their settlement in the Ashkenaz region were along the famous Rhine River, which probably indicates that most of them were farmers.

Community life from the 8th century onwards

We have a slightly more extensive historical background about the Jews from the 8th and 9th centuries, especially in the days of Charlemagne. During this period, Jews from countries such as Iraq, Iran (Persia), Italy, Egypt and North Africa came to Germany in order to develop urban economies. It is important to note that at that time the Christian countries were in conflict with the Muslim ones and for that reason the trade route was often dangerous for Christians.

The Christians, who feared Islamic intelligence services in their provinces, banned their Muslim enemies from living in Europe, especially in the western part of the continent. This led to a lack of merchants to link the Western world to the Eastern one – which at that time controlled the main international trade route, from India through Iran and Central Asia, and west to wealthy Iraq and Egypt.

Jews, who at that time had almost exclusive access everywhere, were known as those who could revive the economy thanks to the connections they had with their fellow Jews on the various continents. This is why the authorities often sought them out. It is claimed that during the reign of the Judeophilic Charlemagne, merchant colonies and sometimes guilds were built, most of whose employees were Jews.

The king first settled the Jews in the south of France in the regions of Provence and Aquitaine. Over the years he continued to settle them in other cities in northern France and western Germany. It is known that he founded a Jewish guild in his hometown – Aachen. This city also served him during his adulthood, and it is where he chose to build his most magnificent palace out of the 65 palaces he built throughout the Carolingian Empire.

A Torah center and incubator for scholars

The movement of Torah sages that would later form Ashkenazi Hassidism flourished in the 10th century with the presence of spiritual greats such as Abun HaGadol, Rabbeinu Gershom, Kalonymus the Elder, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, Yehuda the Hassid and more. This movement transferred the center of the Torah and Halacha from Babylon of the Geonim period to the Ashkenaz region. The aforementioned rabbis managed to attract sages to Germany from all over the Mediterranean.

For the first time, respectable yeshivas began to spring up on the banks of the Rhine, proudly presenting Torah to all of Israel’s diaspora. Unlike the rest of Islamic Jewry located in North Africa, Spain, the Land of Israel or Iraq, the Ashkenazi Jews focused exclusively on Halacha and sometimes even on anti-Christian theology such as Rashi’s, while they hardly paid any attention to philosophy or poetry of any kind.

The writers of the Tosafot developed a sophisticated mode of thinking when they composed comprehensive footnotes and commentaries to the Talmud and Rashi’s commentaries. This daring writing project was intended to clarify the Talmud, so that all of Israel could understand the meaning of the text. The educational project was successful for generations and is still considered a cornerstone in understanding the Torah. A little later, admiration for Kabbalah also began to develop among these sages.

The German Carolingian dynasty and its attitude towards the Jews – obtaining German citizenship

The Carolingian dynasty was deeply influenced by biblical role models such as David, Solomon, Josiah and more. For this reason, they used to imitate the ceremony of anointing heirs to the throne in the royal palace, and made sure that it was performed in a biblical style. The reason for this was the attribution of the Carolingian dynasty to the House of David (like quite a few royal houses in Europe at the time; even the Hanoverian dynasty of the British royal house considers itself related to the House of David).

Therefore, the Carolingians, led by Charlemagne, cherished the Jews, who served as an example and symbol of rule and order for them. Several centuries later, during the Renaissance, this admiration led to the establishment of the “Hebraism” movement. This movement flourished in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, England and Italy, and it praised the biblical kings and presented the biblical path as an example of a prosperous, ethical kingdom.

Another interesting story told about Charlemagne regards his foreign relations with the Abbasid caliph – Harun al-Rashid. In order to restore the economic order, the Frankish-Carolingian ruler knew that he had to stabilize trade policy with the Islamic world. To that end, he sent a delegation to the Caliph in Baghdad which also included a Jewish interpreter from Aachen named Isaac.

For Ashkenazi Jews, the years of the Charlemagne’s reign are known as the Ashkenazi Golden Age of the Middle Ages. The restrictions of the previous Visigothic kingdom were prohibited and in their place the Carolingian kings promoted equal rights. It is said that Charlemagne’s father, Pepin “the Short”, owed allegiance to his Jews because they helped him in his wars against the Muslim Moors.

Obtaining German Citizenship – History of German Jews

The period of the Jewish crisis in Germany

The period of calm enjoyed by Jews for perhaps a thousand years ended with the Catholic Church’s conquest of the hearts of the Western European nations. When Pope Urban II began to make speeches inciting the Christian nations to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Knights Templar began to assemble their armies from all over Western Europe.

The incitement began at the end of November of the year 1095, and was intended to shake up the hearers’ and instill them with a fighting spirit. This was in order to embark on a campaign to conquer the Holy Land and additionally help balance the Christian power in the Levant region. During that period of time, the Byzantine forces in the Middle East were gradually weakened by the Muslim Seljuk forces. In order to restore deterrence, it was decided to embark on an extensive campaign of conquest in Syria as well.

For this purpose, three European empires contributed by sending their armies – the English, the French and the Germans (who at the time were part of the Holy Roman Empire). In August 1096, the united forces of about 150,000 knights set out. However, a crowd of eager Christians unexpectedly flocked to join the knights in order to lend them a hand in the conquest of Jerusalem and bestow blessings on them until they arrived there.

Although the goal was to travel to the Land of Israel, the mob began to unleash its fury on Jewish towns it encountered along the way. The massacres spread by word of mouth very quickly and even reached distant Jewish districts on the Rhine River. These murderous events were referred to by the Jews as the Rhineland Massacres. According to researchers’ estimates, during the two weeks of the massacres, about 12,000 Jews were murdered in the cities of Mainz, Worms, Speyer and Trier.

Communities were destroyed, babies’ heads were maliciously smashed against walls, boys preferred to die sanctifying God’s name than to convert to Christianity – even just outwardly. The anarchy, the cruelty and the number of murdered people caused great trauma among the Jews. This shock grew over the years into an intergenerational trauma which caused the Jews to choose to isolate themselves from their neighbors and distance themselves from any kind of social interactions.

These events were a primary factor in the emigration of Ashkenazi Jews to Eastern Europe and especially to Poland – a kingdom that at the time promoted a spirit of tolerance towards minorities. Slowly, the Jewish-German language (Yiddish) began to integrate words from Polish and other Eastern European dialects. Names such as Lazar, Zalman, Moshka, Kalman, Lipa and more became common among Jews.

German antisemitism in the 14th century

The second and decisive factor regarding Jews’ immigration to Eastern Europe was the libel of well-poisoning. This libel had been periodically spread against Jews since the 12th century, however, in the 1440s it reached its peak in the midst of the Black Plague. The plague hit Europe and depleted its overall population by a third, but Jews represented a lower proportion of the victims than Christians did.

This fact immediately raised suspicions among the authorities that the plague was a deliberate act on the part of the Jews, and that they were trying to poison the wells in Europe because of their hidden hatred for Christians. Throughout Germany, France and Switzerland, thousands of Jews were burned at the stake in groups, severely tortured, put to the sword, or threw themselves into fires in order not to fall victim to the Church’s cruel tortures.

It is said that the entire community of the city of Basel (a city within the ancient German kingdom), some 650 Jews, were burned alive in a wooden building built for the purpose of the punishment. About 600 more Jews were massacred in Mainz, 3,000 in the city of Erfurt (central Germany), and about 2,000 Jews were burned at the stake in Strasbourg. The communities of Cologne and Frankfurt were completely destroyed, as were another 210 communities out of some 500 throughout Germany.

From here on, the massive Jewish migration towards Eastern Europe began. The persecuted and their descendants who survived the inferno of the Black Plague days built new communities in the territories that are today identified with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus and Romania. The territories of Eastern Europe were significantly less affected by the Black Plague than the Western Europe, which led to an expansion of the Jewish population in this part of the world.

German Jewry from the Renaissance period

It would be difficult to say that until the Enlightenment period or even after it, the German principalities (which later coalesced into united Germany) were kind or egalitarian towards Jews. Even after the Renaissance came to Europe, the German region was unusual in its hatred towards Jews. The well-known reformist Martin Luther taught that the killing of Jews is a legitimate thing and will not result in punishment in the afterlife.

The religion that so thoroughly shaped everyday life had such a profound effect on the zealous religious public that it would sometimes go on massacre and revenge campaigns against the Jews. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, murderous riots such as the “Hep-Hep” riots or blood libels such as the Berlin libels did not cease. However, at the beginning of the 19th century Western European countries, along with the United States, began promoting the idea of emancipation.

This idea paved the way for the acceptance of masses of Jews into prestigious jobs among German society. The various principalities such as Hesse, Westphalia, Frankfurt, etc., opened their doors similarly at the beginning of the 19th century. From here on there was a socio-economic flourishing of the Jews of Germany and this Jewry rose to greatness, probably more than any other Jewry in the last thousand years.

Obtaining a German passport

Thanks to legal amendments passed in Germany over the past two years, many Jews are able to apply for and receive a European German passport. Eligibility to receive a German passport is extended to descendants of people who were victims of Nazi persecution in Germany between 1933-1945. This is on the condition that the original citizenship holder was a German citizen or resided in the country between the aforementioned years.

Our thanks to Mr. Jonathan Gabrielov who helped in writing this article.

Contact Us

  • ✓ Valid number ✕ Invalid number
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Scroll To Top