More than 132,000 Jews have applied for Spanish citizenship since the government offered residence to relatives of those expelled during the Inquisition more than 500 years ago.
The deadline has now passed for Sephardi Jews – hailing from the Iberian peninsula – to claim rights to citizenship after the window for applications closed.
Most have applied from South America. But in Britain the rules have created an unexpected opportunity for some members of the Jewish community to avoid the impact of Brexit by gaining a European passport.
The total number of Jews applying to return is not far off the estimated 200,000 who are thought to have fled in the 1490 after facing the option of converting to Catholicism or being burned at the stake.
The initiative in Spain has been coupled by a similar offer by the Portuguese government to atone for the persecution of Jews. Meanwhile in Austria last month the parliament ratified a law extending citizenship to descendants of Nazi victims who fled during and after Hitler’s Third Reich.
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