Closing the Circle Eight Decades after the Holocaust

101-year-old Edith Ramon from Kibbutz Gesher gets her German citizenship back

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: Holocaust
Photo: Consul Dr. Kettner

German Ambassador to Israel Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer and the German Consul to Israel Dr. Lars-Uwe Kettner arrived on Saturday, in a highly unusual gesture, at the home of 101-year-old grandmother Edith Ramon to give her back the certificate of German citizenship in person. Edith lost her German citizenship 84 years ago, when she fled the Nazi regime and immigrated to Israel.

Edith Ramon nee Nachman, was born in Germany 101 years ago and lived in the city of Roschtat in the Alsace region. Edith is the third of five daughters. She immigrated to Israel in 1937, four years after the Nazis came to power. By that time the situation in Germany was already dangerous for Jews. Antisemitism erupted and Edith’s mother, Elsa, realized that they should flee before it was too late. The mother was able to identify the severity of the situation when the car of the father was burned due to his Jewishness (he was a leather salesman).

”We realized we had to run away as long as our souls were in us,” Edith said.

One of the sisters (Gertrude) immigrated to the United States (she is now 105 years old). Another sister (the late Shoshana) was already in Israel and helped the family obtain entry permits, with the assistance of the Haganah. These cost a fortune – almost like a house at the time, but that’s how the family survived. Edith immigrated first, in 1937, and then her parents immigrated and settled in Gedera. When Edith came to Israel, she was accepted to a workers’ farm in Nahalal. When her parents arrived, she moved to Tel Aviv and cleaned houses to help them make ends meet.

In 1939 she joined the core group of Gesher pioneers and was one of the founders of the kibbutz. There she met her husband Moshe Futerman, who also came from Germany. Together they fought to defend the kibbutz with the rest of its members, and helped establish the State of Israel. The German citizenship was not restored until one of her grandchildren living in England decided in the wake of the Brexit to check Edith’s eligibility to get German citizenship and make a sort of historical correction for her and all her descendants. Edith was able to regain her citizenship thanks to an amendment to the German constitution, which allowed people born in Germany, whose citizenship was revoked by the Nazis between 1933-1945, to regain their status.

The German Ambassador to Israel and the German Consul felt the need to close the circle and personally present Edith the German citizenship papers as a gesture and expression of respect for the Ramon family for all its generations.

”It is a very great honor for us that Edith wants to be a German citizen again and that is why the Consul of Germany and I came to Edith, at (Kibbutz) Gesher to grant her the citizenship certificate in person,” said Ambassador Wasum-Rainer.

Grandmother Edith Ramon excitedly asked the ambassador: ”Are we friends now?”

The Ambassador replied: ”Certainly we are friends, what an honor to return citizenship to an impressive woman like you, in Israel. We are happy that the whole process of obtaining Edith Ramon’s citizenship was successful and happened quickly and that I had the honor of helping.”

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