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Minneapolis Holocaust Survivor Reclaims His German Citizenship

At 85 years old, a Holocaust survivor living in Minneapolis became a German citizen.

Fred Amram described the re-naturalization ceremony September 25 at the Germanic-American Institute in St. Paul as “bittersweet.”

Born in Nazi Germany in 1933, Amram was stripped of his citizenship at 2 years old, when the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws were enacted, the Bemidji Pioneer reported. Four years later, his family fled to the United States and became American citizens.

Amram, an emeritus University of Minnesota professor and author, learned in 2016 that Germany was offering re-naturalization for those who lost their citizenship. He talked to family, friends and other Holocaust survivors, ultimately deciding to become a dual citizen.

“It’s sweet that we are building bridges, we are speaking about atoning, we are speaking about making amends,” Amram told the Bemidji Pioneer. “And yet it’s bitter in that the Holocaust happened. To me, it’s bitter that my citizenship was taken away, my birthright was taken away.”

He said he’s still angry over the death of his cousin, Aaltje, who was sent to the gas chambers in the Auschwitz concentration camp, MPR reported. Amram plans to continue living in the U.S., but with his new citizenship, he said he hopes to stand up against the conservative political party.

“In Germany, like in so many other countries, there is a growing right wing and if I can do a teeny part in standing up against that right wing, if I can do a teeny part in saying ‘No, we really are brothers and sisters,’” Arman told MPR. “Cool, that’s what I want to do.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher


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