German Parliament extends claim for German Citizenship

Raue is representing many descendants of Nazi-victims who were deprived of their German citizenship during the German Nazi-years (1933-1945). Since 1949 the German constitution has promised these persons a claim for German citizenship (see Art. 116 of the German Constitution) but until recently, German authorities have interpreted this provision in a very narrow way. For decades, German authorities decided on these cases based on outdated legal principles, in particular on such which are inconsistent with equality of men and women. For instance, the decision typically depended on whether the respective ancestor of the applicant was at the time of birth of the applicant a married man or a non-married women (in which case the application was granted ) or whether it was a non-married man or a married women (in which case the application was denied). Furthermore, applications were often denied if the Nazi-victims had fled Germany at an early stage of the Nazi-years and applied for a foreign citizenship prior to November 1941. In 2020, the German Constitutional Court finally made end of that administration practice.

The German Parliament has now formally amended the German Citizenship Act and grants a claim for German citizenship to all those persons whose ancestors (irrespective of their sex or marriage status) were deprived of their German citizenship by the Nazi-regime. The claim for German citizenship is now also granted to persons whose ancestors never were German but under normal circumstances would have acquired German citizenship during the Nazi-time if they had not been subject of racial discrimination by the Nazi-regime.

In addition, in order to correct former gender discrimination, the German Citizenship Act now also grants German citizenship to persons were born prior to 1975 as child of a German mother who at the time of birth was married to a non-German father and according to the legal situation at time of birth was not able to transfer her German citizenship to her child. The same applies to persons who were born prior to July 1993 as child of a non-married German father who was until then not able to transfer his German citizenship to his children.

Finally, in an effort to fight against antisemitism and racism, the German Parliament has voted for a new provision in the German Citizenship Act according to which German citizenship can not be granted to any person who was convicted under criminal law for antisemitic, racial, xenophobic or other inhuman behavior.

(25 June 2021)