In a historic decision, the Tel Aviv District Court overturned an earlier Supreme Court verdict Thursday and ruled to grant NIS 25,000 ($7,250) apiece to a group of Israeli Holocaust survivors known as the “Tehran children,” wrapping up a decade-long lawsuit.
The case — initiated by 217 of the Polish child survivors named for their internment in a Jewish Agency orphanage outside of the Iranian capital — was filed in 2004, after the survivors claimed that the Israeli government did not grant them the German reparations they rightly deserved in the 1950s.
The litigation was formally directed at the Finance Ministry and the Jewish Agency.
The court shot down the claims against the state, but ruled that the litigants be provided with NIS 25,000 ($7,250) apiece.
Gadi Weisfeld, the attorney representing the Tehran children, said the ruling was secured “for reasons of equality and non-discrimination.”
“There is always the chance that the state will appeal, but the state does not have the moral right to do so,” he said.
“Some justice has been served for the Tehran children,” Professor Zeev Schuss, 76, one of the litigants, said. “Today a brave and original decision was reached,” he added.
The decision Thursday came following a 2012 decision that ruled in favor of the victims and granted each one NIS 50,000. Following a state appeal in January 2014, the compensation was nixed, which led the group to appeal again, garnering a victory for the survivors.
Schuss argued that the lack of funding had impaired the survivors’ ability to integrate and receive an education. The survivors “left the educational system without an education or profession. They tried to rehabilitate without the help of the state and the reparations.”
The 870 Polish survivors comprising the group are named for their internment in an Iranian orphanage during WWII, run by the Jewish Agency, and were subsequently transported to Palestine in 1943. The children had fled their native Poland to the Soviet Union, where they received temporary refuge, and were later shipped alongside many Christian Polish refugees to Iran.