Germanys law change on descendants of Nazi victims claiming citizenship

Ukraine: Captured Russian soldier phones his mother

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Hundreds of Germans gathered at Berlin’s Central Station yesterday offering Ukrainian refugees a place to stay amid the horrific Russian invasion of their country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has today projected that more than four million Ukrainian refugees may need protection and assistance in the days, weeks and months to come. A million refugees have already crossed from Ukraine into neighbouring countries, with more than a thousand already in Germany after railway operator Deutsche Bahn offered refugees free travel.

The rate of exodus from Europe’s second-largest country was described as “phenomenal” by UNHCR communications chief Joung-ah Ghedini Williams on Friday.

He said: “We know that there are many more on the move.

“Also there are possibly equal numbers inside the country that are internally displaced.”

Ukrainian refugees will be given the right to live and work in the European Union for up to three years in the wake of the current crisis, yet some may be able to stay in Germany for life, thanks to new rules introduced last year.

People descended from groups persecuted by the Nazis can apply for German citizenship under a new law passed in August, part of the country’s continued efforts to address the atrocities commited under Adolf Hitler’s leadership.

A clause in Germany’s 1949 constitution offered restored citizenship to those stripped of it on political, racial and religious grounds between 1933 and 1945, including their descendants.

However, legal loopholes had prevented many descendants of German-born ancestors from benefitting for over six decades.

The new bill, which passed through German parliament in June last year, allowed a significant number of descendants of victims of Nazi Germany to obtain German citizenship

— without having to relinquish citizenship of whichever country where they currently reside.

The law removes all previous deadlines and applies to descendants of all Germans who had their citizenship when they fled the Nazis, or were prevented from obtaining citizenship.

Many Jewish Germans were forced to give up their nationality as they fled the Nazi regime.

Likewise, gender discriminatory laws at the time prevented many children from being able to claim citizenship.

Thanks to the new regulations, these individuals and their descendants can restore their German nationality simply by declaration.

India orders immediate evacuation of citizens from Ukraine [LATEST]
Turkey: Erdogan power play over Putin [INSIGHT]
Boris Johnson branded ‘Putin apologist’ — blamed EU for Crimea [REVEALED]

According to, the three factors central to one’s claim to German citizenship are whether they were born in or out of wedlock, the date of their birth and which of their parents was a German citizen.

For those born in wedlock, they can claim their German nationality if they were born after January 1, 1975 to at least one German parent.

Previously, a child born in wedlock pre-1975 to a German father could claim German citizenship, but not if they were born to a German mother and non-German father, unless they were at risk of becoming stateless.

However, under the new rules, they can claim citizenship if either parent is German.

For those born out of wedlock, they are entitled to citizenship if they were born after January 1, 1914 to a German mother, or they were born after July 1, 1993 to a German parent.

Prior to 1993, children born to parents out of wedlock could obtain citizenship only if the mother was German.

Individuals that lost citizenship under gender discrimination grounds are now eligible to reclaim citizenship if they are: children born to a German parent but did not acquire citizenship; children born to a German mother who had married a foreigner prior to the birth of the child and therefore forfeited German nationality; children initially entitled to citizenship but lost it when their mother married the foreign father after birth, thus both mother and child relinquished their nationality.

Descendants of the above are also eligible to claim German citizenship.

Meanwhile, the following individuals are eligible to reclaim citizenship if they were stripped of it on political racial or religious grounds: Jewish Germans who fled the Nazi regime and were living abroad between 1933 and 1945; individuals stripped of German citizenship by having their names listed on the Reich Law Gazette (Reichzgesetzblatt); and the descendants of these individuals.

The move came partly due to lobbying from the Article 116 Exclusions Group, which campaigned on the issue for years. British lawyer Felix Couchman, chair of the campaign group, told the BBC in June that the measures were “necessary stepping stones to rebuilding trust”.

Then-German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said: “This is not just about putting things right, it is about apologising in profound shame. It is a huge fortune for our country if people want to become German, despite the fact that we took everything from their ancestors.”

Those looking to check their eligibility for citizenship can complete this online form, created by immigration lawyers.

Applicants must be prepared to submit a number of documents, including birth certificates and/or their ancestors’ birth certificates.

Source: Read Full Article