German citizenship for Holocaust survivors
A recent easing of restrictions in the German constitution has opened the country’s gates to hundreds of thousands of former citizens whose citizenship was forcibly revoked between the years 1933-1945, as well as their descendants in Israel. At issue is loss of citizenship from the time the Nazi party came to power up until the Allied powers’ conquest of Germany at the end of World War II.
Our Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offices, attorneys for emigration to Germany, provide full assistance in the process of obtaining German citizenship for Holocaust survivors. If you are unsure of your eligibility under the most recent update, which has raised questions, we recommend contacting our office.
German citizenship for Holocaust survivors
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are eligible for German or Austrian citizenship. Obtaining citizenship means that you have the option to take out a European passport which can open up endless opportunities for you and your children as well. Germany and Austria are two of the most developed countries in the world, and both are members of the European Union.
However, for many decades the process of obtaining citizenship has been seen as prolonged and exhausting, with a number of frustrating restrictions. However, many acceptance restrictions and conditions have recently been removed, due to lenient rulings by the German Federal Court.
Holding these passports means a broad spectrum of unique opportunities reserved solely for citizens of the European Union. Advantages like entrance to Europe, visa-free entrance to the US and Australia, living for an unlimited amount of time on the developed continent, as well as working in developed countries such as Holland, France, Italy and Sweden. This is all in addition to the EU citizen’s right to study under preferential conditions in excellent institutions of higher learning.
Likewise, if you have decided to emigrate to Germany, you can enjoy a variety of advantages such as: a high standard of living, a well-developed social welfare system, subsidized health care, advanced social services, pensions, vacation days, etc. It is no wonder that Germany has been attracting so much immigration for so many years.
German citizenship for descendants of Holocaust survivors – amendments
Following far-reaching changes made in Austria in 2019, under which most of the prerequisites for immigration were simplified for victims of Nazi persecution and their descendants, now it is Germany’s turn. Many descendants of former German citizens can apply for a German passport in a convenient process, due to a new constitution which broadened many leniencies, and at the same time essentially cancelled sections which formerly dealt strictly with Israelis.
Up until recently, Israelis who wanted to obtain German citizenship had to take a test on German language and culture, demonstrate a solid economic background, and renounce their Israeli citizenship. Now, however, due to significant amendments and a more tolerant approach by German lawmakers, the great majority of German Jews who suffered under the Third Reich will be eligible to apply for and obtain German citizenship without being subject to old sections of the law. In addition, their descendants are also eligible, as described below.
In essence, we are no longer talking about chances of success of this or that percent. Rather, we are looking at a comprehensive movement towards leniency, intended to compensate for the historical anguish that traumatized German Jews and uprooted the historic settlement under barbaric conditions.
The program is a platform intended to repair the horrific injustice by reducing the restrictions to an unprecedented level. In other words, in contrast to the normal naturalization process in Germany, in which the candidate is required to live in the country for a significant number of years, here there are no residence requirements at all. Another exceptional turnaround is the timeframe for receiving citizenship papers – an average of two years, compared to eight years for the normal process.
Another unprecedented amendment concerns Jews who resided permanently in Germany before 1933 and fled the country because of racial, religious, or political persecution, thus making them unable to apply for citizenship. This amendment also concerns those who applied for citizenship but were rejected because they were Jewish. They are also, under certain circumstances, are eligible to apply for citizenship.
German citizenship for grandchildren – German citizenship for descendants
In the wake of the widening circle of eligibility and the sweeping changes in the German constitution, descendants of Holocaust survivors and/or victims of Nazi persecution can also enjoy the prized European passport. German law currently grants eligibility to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even the fifth generation of someone eligible whose German citizenship was revoked during the years 1933-1945.
Required documents – obtaining a German passport
First of all, one must present official documents of the person who is defined as a victim of persecution. These are official documents from Germany showing a civilian connection to the country, for example –marriage or divorce certificate, birth certificate, old passport, etc. Based on these documents, we can find out whether the person has eligibility.
However, due to the historical circumstances in Nazi Germany, many emigrants were prevented from taking these documents with them, and the documents could also have been lost or ruined. If you have no official document proving a citizenship connection, such a document may be found in Germany in one of the archives scattered throughout the country. Most of the documents were preserved due to the German practice of thorough documentation.
Advantages of a German passport – benefits of German citizenship
Taking out a German passport could improve your life and your children’s lives immeasurably. Let’s begin by noting that as Israelis, there are quite a number of countries to which your entrance is limited or banned entirely. But the moment you are naturalized and receive the coveted passport, these opportunities will open before you and you will be able to enter the US or Australia without a visa, or even Qatar, Malaysia, Venezuela, and more.
Note that to obtain a passport, you are not required to make Germany your permanent place of residence and/or meet any obligations or payments that might restrict you. Expanding the circle of those eligible for citizenship is a project that has been going on for more than two years, with the goal of compensating the victims of Nazi persecution and their descendants for the horrific anguish and suffering that Holocaust survivors experienced in the past. It is important to note that you have a range of options for investing in real estate or a local business, together with significant tax benefits that can be obtained from the authorities.
Contact us – Getting a German passport
If you think that you are eligible for a German passport, or you would like more information about it, we recommend contacting the office. We work around the clock with the German authorities responsible for certifying eligibility and issuing German passports. For more information, you can contact us at the telephone numbers or email address below.