German Citizenship for Descendants of Holocaust Survivors — German Passport Lawyer
According to the German Citizenship Law, German citizenship is automatically granted to anyone born in Germany. In fact, German citizenship may be inherited from one’s parents or, in other words, by jus sanguinis (“right of blood”). Therefore, descendants who have a direct relative who was a German citizen in the past are eligible to receive German citizenship for Holocaust descendants by law.
In the past few months, the German Bundestag expanded and simplified the German basic law regarding those persecuted by the Nazi regime and their descendants. The updated law stipulates that descendants of Holocaust survivors and of anyone who was persecuted due to their family origins will be able to receive German citizenship under much more lenient conditions than before.
The new legislation stipulates that future applicants will not be required to undergo complex language examinations or a formal interview in the German language at the embassy. Furthermore, there will be no requirement to live in Germany or visit it during the naturalization procedure. In general, the law is intended to amend the horrific injustice that the German authorities caused to their Jewish citizens in the past. Therefore, future applicants are not expected to undergo the same difficulties as they would have in the past.
German Citizenship for Descendants of Holocaust Survivors—German Passport Lawyer
Until June 2022, obtaining German citizenship for Holocaust descendants was a complex procedure fraught with difficulties. However, thanks to the broad changes made by the German Parliament members, the laws were comprehensively simplified and, today, most descendants of those persecuted by the Nazi regime are recognized as eligible for citizenship. This applies to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren of past German citizens.
To be recognized as eligible for citizenship, applicants must first present documents proving that the original German citizen or resident lived in Germany and left it between 1933 and 1935. Compensation documents such as reparations, BEG benefits, proof of lost property, fines that were paid to be allowed to leave the country, etc. are considered as valid proof that grands eligibility for citizenship. This applies to men who were in Germany, as well as women—the rules are no longer different depending on the gender as they were in the past. In addition, the limiting years of eligibility for descendants of German women were also anulled.
Eligibility for German Citizenship
Eligibility for citizenship applies to anyone who has lost their citizenship during the 1930s and 1940s as part of the racist policy advanced by the Nazis. It even applies in cases where the original ancestor living in Germany decided to renounce their citizenship. The Nuremberg Laws, which were enacted in 1935 and redefined German ethnicity based on the so-called Aryan descent, cancelled the citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Jews. Based on statistics and rough estimates regarding the number of eligible individuals today, there are approximately 3–4 million individuals who have the right to receive a German passport worldwide.
Does Serving in a Foreign Army Prevent Applicants from Receiving Citizenship?
This is a frequent question asked by our clients, and it is actually one of the most relevant conditions for Israelis. Be aware that, according to the new regulations, military service in the IDF or in any other foreign army, called Sherut Sadir (regular service, or conscription) in Israeli terms, does not constitute a problem, according to the German law. Past permanent military service (Sherut Keva), as well as military reserve service (Atudah), do not constitute a problem, either. However, current or future permanent military service of individuals disqualifies them from receiving citizenship or causes its revocation.
Are Civil Servants Eligible for Citizenship?
According to the new legislation, civil servants are eligible to apply for citizenship. This is the case even if they have operated abroad. Civil servants include teachers, officials at governmental offices, and so on.
German Citizenship Lawyer
Applying for German citizenship is only the beginning of a long complex process that requires professional legal assistance. First, the applicant’s eligibility is examined and, if our experts find that the applicant is eligible for citizenship, we go on to the next step, which is to collect all the required documents and submit them to the authorities in Vienna. The original documents must be submitted along with translations of those documents. Our firm has a well-developed German-speaking department which operates around the clock due to the high demand, and which translates the required documents. We also offer notarization services, which will save you the time of seeking notarization elsewhere.
In addition, applicants are required to prove an official family relationship with the individual who is claimed to have suffered from persecution. In this matter, our firm employs family-root researchers who help our clients to locate original German documents, in case they have no documents remaining from the Holocaust survivor. Of course, this entails an additional fee.
It is recommended that you seek the help of an experienced lawyer who will be able to lead you safely through the process. Specializing in the field of German citizenship requires meticulous attention to detail, since the German authorities are known to be very strict and examine each application in depth. Beware of beginners’ mistakes that a lawyer who is unfamiliar with German legislation may make, since denial of your first application may sometimes lead to an expensive lengthy procedure and require taking the case to higher legal tribunals in Germany.
A lawyer specializing in immigration to Germany, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, will help you with your legal procedures. Our firm has many years of experience in obtaining foreign citizenships, especially European citizenships. We only decide to file applications for individuals whom our experts have proved to be definitely eligible for citizenship. For further legal information, you are welcome to contact us via the phone numbers and email address listed below.