By Toby Axelrod, JTA—
Germany is easing immigration requirements for Jewish refugees from Ukraine, the country’s main Jewish umbrella group announced today.
In a deal worked out with the federal government, refugees who have papers proving their Jewish roots will have an expedited path to German citizenship.
Jewish leaders welcomed the news even as they struggled to find shelter and support for refugees arriving after days of travel from the war zone.
“It’s a very fluid situation,” Berlin Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a phone call. So far, he said, his community has helped settle some 250 people, including more than 100 children from an orphanage in Odessa. A third group is arriving today, he said.
“It’s very important that we have these new rules,” Teichtal added. “It is monumental that Germany — a country from which all the Jews were running away — is helping refugees in general and the Jewish community among them. It is very moving.”
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have flooded into Germany, mostly through Poland, since Russia began attacking its neighbor country on Feb. 24. Hundreds of Jewish refugees have been embraced by Jewish communities in the capital and other cities.
The formal application process for asylum for Jews is expected to be ready in the coming weeks. And local Jewish communities will assist with the process, which will be simplified, according to today’s announcement from the Central Council of Jews in Germany and its partner social services organization, the Central Welfare Council of Jews in Germany. Continue Reading…