French widower leaves Israel $14.5 million to support bereaved families

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A French widower with no children left about $14.5 million to the State of Israel to assist families who lost loved ones serving in the military or to terrorism.

Most of the inheritance of Nicolas Bauman, who died in 2009, was transferred to Israel last week, Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund announced on the eve of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.

The fund established in Bauman’s will for bereaved families will operate for 10 years under the trustee management of the Ministry of Justice administrator general and KKL-JNF.

The trustees decided that the fund will assist siblings, who do not receive full support from the official commemorative bodies in Israel. KKL-JNF said in a statement that it will soon form a team to decide on clear criteria for areas of assistance and eligibility.

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“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,” KKL-JNF’s world chairman, Daniel Atar, said in a statement. “In this case, we were given the privilege of memorializing the name of Mr. Nicolas Bauman Z”L and, at the same time, support a group that until now did not receive the full recognition and support that it needed. That will no longer be the case.”

Bauman was born in Hungary. It is not known where he was during the Holocaust or when he moved to France.