Special rules on renaturalisation will apply for victims of persecution by the Nazi regime who were deprived of their German nationality on political, racial or religious grounds between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945. Within the framework of reparations, these persons and their descendants are entitled to be naturalised under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law.
Detailed information on this topic can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration.
Federal Constitutional Court decision 2 BvR 2628/18 of 20 May 2020 has made it possible for more people to claim citizenship under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law.
With immediate effect, the term “descendants” within the meaning of Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law also includes
- children born in wedlock prior to 1 April 1953 to mothers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign fathers
- and children born out of wedlock prior to 1 July 1993 to fathers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign mothers.
Persons affected by this ruling, whose applications for naturalisation under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law have previously been rejected in line with the existing case-law, may submit a new application; no special form is required. The Embassy/Consulate General will be happy to help.
Easier naturalisation for descendants of victims of Nazi persecution under Section 14 of the Nationality Act
On 30 August 2019, the Federal Ministry of the Interior introduced two comprehensive ministerial orders which make it easier for descendants of German victims of Nazi persecution who live abroad and are not entitled to renaturalisation under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law to claim citizenship. For details see the Federal Ministry of the Interior press release.
The group of persons affected includes children whose German parent acquired a foreign citizenship and lost German citizenship as a result of Nazi persecution measures. This also includes children whose mother emigrated to escape persecution and lost her German citizenship prior to 1 April 1953 as a consequence of marriage to a foreign man. The descendants of these children are also entitled to naturalisation.
Further information on naturalisation for descendants of victims of Nazi persecution can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration.
New legislation planned
On 24 March 2021, the Federal Cabinet adopted the draft Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act. This bill will be debated in parliament in the months to come. This new piece of legislation is designed to create a new legal framework for the restitution of German citizenship for victims of Nazi persecution and their descendants. The bill introduces legal claims to naturalisation for individuals who lost or were denied their German citizenship due to Nazi persecution and who are not already entitled to restoration of citizenship under Article 116 (2) of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz). This entitlement to naturalisation is also to be extended to all descendants of such individuals. Further details can be found in the press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.