Reparation under citizenship law


Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis, © Ute Grabowsky / photothek.net

04.09.2023 - Article

Special provisions apply to those persecuted by the Nazi regime, from whom German citizenship was withdrawn between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 for political, racial or religious reasons. These people and their descendants may be entitled to naturalization.

If you would like to have your case examined, please contact the embassy first. We will then contact you to investigate your case and to inform you about the options for naturalization and how to proceed.

Germans who fled Nazi persecution and acquired a foreign citizenship before they could be deprived of the German citizenship, do not meet the criteria of Art. 116 II Basic Law. For their descendants, the option to be re-naturalised under the applicable Nationality Laws originally ended on 31.12.1970.

These persons and their descendants can now benefit from new ministerial decrees and be naturalised more easily.

BMI - Press - Entitlement to German citizenship (bund.de)

Acquisition of German citizenship by naturalisation

Who can be naturalised under the above decrees?

  1. Children whose German parent had acquired foreign citizenship and lost their German citizenship amid National Socialist persecution, including children whose mothers emigrated as a result of persecution and lost their citizenship under Section 17, number 6, of the former German Nationality Law Imperial and State Nationality Law (RuStAG a.F.) prior to 1 April 1953 by marrying a foreign man.
  2. Children born in wedlock before 1 April 1953 to foreign fathers and German mothers whose German citizenship had been revoked.
  3. Children born out of wedlock before 1 July 1993 to German fathers whose citizenship had been revoked and foreign mothers, provided the paternity of those children was recognized or determined under German law prior to their reaching the age of 23.

1.-3. also applies for their descendants up to the generational cut-off Point of 1 January 2000 in accordance with Section 4 (4) of the Nationality Act. That means minor children whose respective parent was born outside of Germany after 31.12.9999 may only be naturalised if they are born before 01.01.2021 and the application for naturalisation is also filed before 01.01.2021.

By the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 20.05.2020 - 2 BvR 2628/18 - the circle of beneficiaries from Article 116 paragraph 2 sentence 1 of the German Basic Law (GG) was expanded.

As of now, descendants in the sense of citizenship law also include

- children born in wedlock to foreign fathers and forcibly expatriated German mothers born before April 1, 1953

- children born out of wedlock to forcibly expatriated German fathers and foreign mothers born before 01.07.1993.

Recourse to the existing naturalization options under Section 14 of the Nationality Act in conjunction with the decrees of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Construction and Home Affairs of 28.03.2012 and 30.08.2019 is therefore no longer necessary.

Persons affected by this, whose application for naturalization under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law was rejected in the past in accordance with the previously applicable case law, can contact the diplomatic mission abroad at any time.Detailed information on applications acc. to Art. 116 II Basic Law and application forms can be found here (Paket 4).

Only in case Art. 116 II Basic Law does not apply, you might want to check:

The Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act, which entered into force on 20 August 2021, has created a new legal entitlement to renaturalisation for persons 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 (Section 15 of the Nationality Act). This entitlement to naturalisation also applies to all descendants of such persons.

Under Section 15 of the Nationality Act, persons who surrendered, lost or were denied German citizenship between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 due to persecution on political, racial or religious grounds are entitled to naturalisation:

1. Persons who surrendered or lost their German citizenship prior to 26 February 1955, for example through acquisition of foreign citizenship on application, release on application or marriage with a foreigner

2. Persons who were excluded from the legal acquisition of German citizenship through marriage, legitimisation or collective naturalisation of persons of German ethnic origin

3. Persons who were not naturalised following application or who were generally excluded from naturalisation that would otherwise have been possible upon application, or

4. Persons who surrendered or lost their habitual abode in Germany if this was established prior to 30 January 1933 or, in the case of children, also after this date.

This entitlement to naturalisation is also extended to descendants.

Information sheet - Naturalization on ground of restitution of German citizenhip pursuant to section 15 of the Nationality Ac (bund.de)

For detailed Information in German, please consult the Website of the Federal Office of Administration.

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