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Austria Holocaust citizenship for Holocaust Survivors and Descendants

Rachel Amselem Aouate

Rachel Amselem Aouate

When Nazis took over Austria in 1938, close to 120,000 Jewish individuals fled persecution. Most refugees were naturalised in the countries they fled to out of necessity. However, after the war, the Austrian state barred dual citizenship, which meant these individuals who fled persecution lost their Austria citizenship.

The old pathway of gaining Austrian citizenship descendants of Holocaust had was required their ancestors to have left Austria prior to May 1945. Only descendants of these persecuted individuals who left on time were eligible for applying for regaining Austrian citizenship.

In addition, only descendants of male Austrian holocaust survivors could apply to regain Austrian citizenship. Children of Austrian citizen mothers who were born before September 1983 were also not eligible for Austrian citizenship.

The Amendment to citizenship law

In September of 2019, an amendment was adopted by the Austrian National Council to the Austrian Citizenship Act (section 58c) to include Holocaust Austrian citizenship. Per the amendment, the following categories of individuals can apply for Austria Holocaust citizenship:

  • Austrian citizens and individuals who had citizenship of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy’s successor states
  • Stateless individuals with primary residence being in Austria who left Austria prior to 15 May 1955 owning to persecution by the Nazi regime
  • Descendants of the persecuted individuals in direct descending line.
  • Adopted children of individuals who left Austria due to Nazi regime’s persecution. The adoption should have happened when the individual was a minor.

Austria Holocaust citizenshipThe amendment to Austrian Nationality Act’s sec 58c was effective from September 1, 2020. The amendment adds ten more years to the old Austria citizenship law. All descendants or family members such as daughter, son, granddaughter and grandson are eligible for Austria Holocaust citizenship.

Under the Act’s amendment terms, citizenship can be granted to all descendants of Austrian Holocaust survivors irrespective of whether their father or mother had faced Nazi persecution as an Austrian citizen. The amendment expands eligibility and opens up pathways for Austrian citizenship for descendants of female Holocaust survivors as well.

The new amendment to the citizenship law also strikes down the 1921 anti-Semitic law under which Jews from Romanian and Moldova areas ( Danubian Principalities) were not eligible for Austria Holocaust citizenship.

The process of applying for Austria Holocaust citizenship

If you are a descendent of an Austrian citizen who left Austria prior to 1955, you can apply for Austria Holocaust citizenship. The Austrian government website has an online questionnaire that you can fill to get an idea of eligibility and the documents required. You will also have to fill and submit a declaration form.

The only categories of individuals whose application for Austrian citizenship may be rejected include people who have had prior convictions for severe financial crimes, criminal offenses, terrorist actions or have made attempts to target Austrian democracy.

Although the process of applying for Austria Holocaust citizenship has been made easy by the Austrian government, it is important to ensure all your documents are in order and that the declaration form is filled without errors.

Official documents must also be translated to German and notarized. These documents include citizenship application form, marriage license and valid passport as they provide proof of your ties to a victim of Holocaust.

The team of attorneys at the law offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex and Brosh are highly experienced in immigration laws and a key area of specialization includes Austria Holocaust citizenship. We also have attorneys and notary who provide competent assistance with translation and the document submission. We also guide you on different pathways of obtaining Austria citizenship if you are not a descendant of a Holocaust survivor.

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