Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld, 77, gets Israeli citizenship
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Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld, 77, gets Israeli citizenship

Daughter of Wehrmacht soldiers played key role in bringing war criminals to justice, including Lyon Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie

German Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld (L) receives her new Israeli passport and ID from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri during a ceremony at the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem, February 15, 2016. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
German Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld (L) receives her new Israeli passport and ID from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri during a ceremony at the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem, February 15, 2016. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

German Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld, 77, has been granted Israeli citizenship.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri presented Klarsfeld, who is not Jewish, with the citizenship in a ceremony Monday at the Interior Ministry in in Jerusalem.

“It is an honor for me to confer upon you Israeli citizenship,” Deri said at the ceremony, according to the French daily Le Monde. “You are a hero who has dedicated her life to the Jewish people.”

“As a German who is not a Jew, it is an honor for me to receive this citizenship,” Klarsfeld said.

A German journalist, Klarsfeld is the daughter of a Wehrmacht soldier, while her husband Serge, 79, is the son of French Jews deported from France during the Holocaust.

The Klarsfelds played a vital role in bringing Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief in Lyon during World War II, to justice, as well as French officials who collaborated with the Nazi occupiers like René Bousquet, Paul Touvier, Jean Leguay and Maurice Papon.

Serge is a French lawyer who founded the Association of Sons and Daughters of Jews Deported from France (FFDJF). Both Serge, who is Jewish, and son Arno already hold Israeli citizenship.

Last October, the Klarsfelds were appointed honorary ambassadors and envoys of UNESCO for the teaching of the history of the Holocaust and the prevention of genocide.

JTA contributed to this report.

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