Germany Lifts Restrictions on Giving Descendants of Nazi-Era Persecution Citizenship

By Kurt Stolz on 4 July 2021
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The Reichstag in Berlin

The Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, approved changes to the country’s citizenship laws that will make it easier for the descendants of people who fled National Socialist persecution in the country to obtain citizenship.

The move was strongly applauded by Jewish groups across the globe.

The amendments approved by the Bundestag echo decrees that were issued in 2019.

“The governing coalition has taken important legal steps to ensure that Germany lives up to its historical responsibility,” said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Germany’s Grundgesetz, or Basic Law, which is akin to the U.S. Constitution, states that former Germany citizens who in the years 1933 through 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds can have their citizenship restored, as can their descendants.

Since the decree two years ago, some applicants were rejected or were told they were not eligible to apply on the grounds that they were born to a German mother and a non-German father. Until 1953, German citizenship was only passed on through the paternal line and the new law closes that loophole.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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