3 Things To Know About Reclaiming German Citizenship

Posted on

World War II created many problems on a global scale. The stripping of German citizenship by the Nazi regime is one problem that still affects people today.

If you have ancestors who were stripped of their German citizenship as a result of Nazi policy, you may be able to reclaim the German citizenship you would have inherited had your ancestors not been affected by Nazi policy.

The process can be complex, so it's important to learn as much as possible about reclaiming German citizenship before you start working with an attorney on the matter.

1. Who Was Stripped of Their Citizenship?

In order to determine if you are eligible to reclaim your German citizenship, you need to know which groups of people were stripped of their citizenship by Nazi policy.

The Third Reich passed laws that revoked the citizenship of any Jewish German living abroad. Jewish Germans who moved abroad after this law was passed were also stripped of their citizenship.

If your ancestors were among those Jewish Germans who had their citizenship taken away by Nazi policy, you are eligible to reclaim that citizenship for yourself.

2. How Is Reclaiming Citizenship Possible?

In an attempt to rectify the revocation of citizenship from thousands during the Nazi regime, German officials amended the country's constitution to allow for the reclamation of citizenship.

Article 116 of the German constitution says that people deprived of German citizenship on the grounds of race, religion, or politics during the World War II era can reclaim that citizenship.

This right extends to the direct descendants of the individuals affected as well, making it possible for you to claim the German citizenship you would have had if your ancestors were not stripped of theirs.

3. Is Reclaiming German Citizenship Difficult?

Although you may have the right to reclaim German citizenship according to Article 116, this doesn't mean that the process will be easy. Most people choose to work with an attorney who has experience handling German citizenship reclamation cases.

An attorney will be able to help you gather the paperwork necessary to prove that your ancestors meet all of the parameters set forth in Article 116. Without this documentation, your application for citizen reclamation will likely be denied by the German government.

Attorneys know exactly what government officials are looking for, and they can help you present your case in a professional and compelling manner when petitioning the German government to reclaim citizenship. 

To learn more, contact an Article 116 attorney near you.