Germany announces “Section 15”- a new regulation to ease the pathway to citizenship restoration for descendants of Nazi victims.
Whilst the details are yet to be revealed, GCR is optimistic this new route to restoration, will render eligible more German descendants than ever before. Until now, restoring German citizenship to descendants of former Germans who were deprived of it, due to Nazi persecution, was reserved for those who met specific requirements:
- Formerly, under Article 116 II GG citizenship restoration was reserved exclusively for those who descended from a German paternal line or from a maternal line, only if they were born after April 1st, 1953 and only, if the mother hadn’t previously lost her citizenship by marrying a foreign national (which often occurred when she fled Germany, due to Nazi persecution).
- Later, Germany eased the regulations regarding the maternal lineage, insofar as it allowed to file for discretionary naturalization under a new section 14a of the German nationality act. However, this route required the applicant to possess basic knowledge of German culture and language. Also, the regulation included a so-called “generation cut” which excluded those descendants from naturalization whose parent was born from the year 2000 onwards.
- More recently, following significant pressure on the German ministry of interior from scholars, organizations, and individuals alike, Germany agreed to include descendants of maternal German Jewish lineage, as well as illegitimate children into the group of people eligible under Article 116 II GG for non-discretionary naturalization.
However, to qualify, the respective ancestor must have held German citizenship and being deprived there of, during the years 1933 – 1945.
This stipulation excluded a great number of descendants of Jews who both lived in Germany and experienced brutal persecution without compensation. Those, for example, whose former German ancestor naturalized in another country before being deprived of their citizenship. Or descendants of those who never held German citizenship originally but who may have sought to naturalize in Germany, if not for Nazi persecution.
2021 will hopefully see Section 15 introduced & implemented into the Nationality Act
Promising less stringent eligibility requirements and opening the door to naturalization applications from descendants fitting the aforementioned circumstances. Section 15 will provide a new route to restoration, different to that of Article 116II GG. We are eagerly awaiting clarity on the regulations so we can accurately advise our clients.
Until then, watch this space for more detailed information. Don’t hesitate to contact GCR to register interest for further updates – firstname.lastname@example.org