Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Germany Eases Citizenship For Families Who Fled Nazis

(JTA) — Germany said it will make naturalization easier for some people, including Jews, who fled the Nazi regime because of persecution.

The move Friday is announced in two decrees unveiled by the interior ministry.

They affect several hundred applicants who applied for Germany citizenship but had been rejected because they were born to a German mother and non-German father. Until 1953, German citizenship could only be passed on through the paternal line.

“Germany must live up to its historical responsibilities,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in a statement, adding that he wanted to help people whose parents or grandparents had to flee, Reuters reported Thursday. “With the legal decrees which come into force tomorrow, we will create a swift ruling that is immediately valid for these people to get German citizenship,” he added on Thursday.

Germany received more than 1,500 applications from Britain under Article 116 in both 2017 and 2018 compared with 43 in 2015, before the Brexit referendum. A majority of voters said they supported the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

The new decrees loosen the conditions needed for citizenship, for example by allowing individuals with a German mother and foreign father to have their citizenship restored, provided they were born before April 1953.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.