Lithuania lifts major obstruction to citizenship applications by Jews

By JTA
June 24, 2016 03:55

 
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Lithuania’s parliament passed legislation that is expected to simplify the naturalization of Litvak Jews abroad and their descendants.

Under amendments passed Thursday by the Seimas in Vilnius, Lithuanians who left before 1990 and their direct descendants may be naturalized without renouncing their other nationalities.

The legislation passed with 96 its 141 lawmakers voting in favor, the Baltic News Service reported. President Dalia Grybauskaite must ratify the amendments for them to go into effect.

They lift a stipulation based on case law that voided such eligibility for many Jews whose ancestors left Lithuania during its brief pre-Soviet period of independence, from 1919 to 1940. The courts had ruled that those who left during those years are not considered political refugees and therefore cannot benefit from a naturalization policy that aimed to restore Lithuanian nationality for dissidents who fled communism.

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