Mystery man leaves millions for families of fallen soldiers
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Mystery man leaves millions for families of fallen soldiers

Nicolas Bauman, who died in France in 2009, bequeathed €13 million euros to the state; special JNF-KKL and Justice Ministry fund to focus on helping bereaved siblings

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli soldiers participate in an official Memorial Day ceremony in the Nahalat Yitshak Cemetery, Tel Aviv on May 8, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90
Israeli soldiers participate in an official Memorial Day ceremony in the Nahalat Yitshak Cemetery, Tel Aviv on May 8, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90

An inheritance amounting to €13 million bequeathed to the State of Israel for the purpose of helping the families of fallen soldiers will be used for bereaved siblings, the Jewish National Fund said in a statement Wednesday, as the country marked its annual Memorial Day.

The money, the equivalent of some $14.55 million (NIS 52 million), was left to the state in the will of Nicolas Bauman, a French Jewish widower with no children who died in 2009.

In his will, Bauman stated the money should be used to set up a fund for bereaved families. Following a lengthy bureaucratic process, the money arrived in Israel last week and will be distributed via a fund managed by a Justice Ministry official and Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).

KKL-JNF representatives and the Justice Ministry’s Sigal Yaakobi decided at a recent meeting that the fund, to operate over the next ten years, will begin by dedicating resources to support bereaved siblings.

“Bereaved brothers and sisters are part of the bereaved families, but their standing and rights have not been completely settled, and they do not receive full support from the official commemorative bodies in the State of Israel,” the KKL-JNF statement said.

A team from KKL-JNF and the ministry will be set up to “decide on clear criteria for areas of assistance and eligibility.”

Little is known about Bauman, who was born in Hungary on July 1, 1912.

“It is unclear where he was during WWII and the Holocaust, or when he moved to France,” the statement said.

“In these days of memorial and commemoration, we remember and thank those who gave their lives so we may keep ours,” said KKL-JNF world chairman Daniel Atar in the statement. “The fact that Jews around the world are deciding to leave their life’s inheritance for the benefit of the State of Israel constitutes an example of the power of the Jewish people everywhere, and the importance the State of Israel holds for those in the Diaspora.”

“Each time it is moving to see the brave connection the Jewish Diaspora has with Israel, and the ties Jews abroad have to Israel,” said Yaakobi.

Wednesday’s Memorial Day commemorated 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 terror victims. On Thursday the country was to celebrate its 71st Independence Day.

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