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German Citizenship for Grandchildren

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

The new amendment to the German law enables hundreds of thousands of grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to petition for German citizenship. In this article we will explain the revolutionary change in the law and in Germany’s approach towards the many helpless victims who suffered during the Nazi party’s reign of terror.

Attorney and notary offices of Decker, Pex, Levi, Rosenberg & Co. in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv handle matters of emigration and acquiring German citizenship under the new law. Our attorneys include a dedicated team, fluent in German and familiar with German law. In addition, we can handle the translation of documents into German and everything related to their authentication (notary services).

German citizenship for grandchildren

German citizenship for grandchildren

The month of June 2021 began with good news for thousands of Israelis with blood ties to someone who lived in Germany when the Nazi party came to power. The most recent announcement was the culmination of a two-year process, during which the German parliament has passed laws that have established a number of new, revolutionary instructions, enabling thousands of grandchildren to obtain German citizenship in an unusually straightforward manner. This move is to promote the remedying of the horrendous injustice perpetrated against German Jews in the 1930s and 40s following the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws.

For decades, grandchildren of survivors of the Holocaust/Nazi persecution have had difficulty obtaining German citizenship. This is due to a number of decisive factors which, in many cases, prevented them from becoming citizens. Up to June of last year, there were many restrictions which held back most of those who wanted to become citizens.

What were the restrictions? For example, most of the descendants of female Holocaust survivors were prevented from obtaining citizenship due to a gender problem of many years’ standing, allowing only the descendants of male German citizens to apply for a German passport, which cast its shadow over hundreds of thousands of grandchildren.

Today, however, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of both sexes can legally apply, on the condition that their ancestors lived in Germany between the years 1933-1945. The law does not require the person living in Germany to show proof of German citizenship in those years, but rather it includes temporary residents who were present in the country between the specified years, as well as those whose citizenship was revoked because they were Jews or because they were women, as noted above.

Today, as part of the program for a fundamental change by governmental authorities, grandchildren are no longer required to pass a language test at the German embassy, live in Germany for a number of years, or renounce their current citizenship. In fact, they are not required to make any commitment or be subject to any restrictions. This is thanks to the new, revolutionary legislation which requires only showing an historic tie to Germany and not a present connection, as is mandatory in naturalization processes that do not involve a link to a Holocaust survivor.

The circle of those eligible includes those who were unable to acquire German citizenship at birth, since they were born into a marriage between a mother of German extraction and a foreign father (or, due to her marriage to a foreigner, the mother’s citizenship was revoked before the child was born). Also included are those who were born out of wedlock (up to 1.7.1993) to a father of German extraction and a foreign mother.

As noted above, all these restrictions at present do not relate to a Jew or descendant of a Jew who was present in Germany during the years in question. This differs from the process of obtaining German citizenship for candidates who do not have ties to Nazi Germany. In fact, the process for such candidates is complex, involving various obstacles and complicated parameters.

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Obtain German citizenship for grandchildren and get a German passport at an emigration attorneys’ office, professionally and efficiently. For any question or clarification, you are invited to contact us at the telephone number or email address below. Our experts will be happy to answer your questions.

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