Germany eases citizenship path for descendants of Holocaust survivors

"This injustice cannot be undone," said President of the German Central Council of Jews Josef Schuster about the Nazi persecution of Jews, "but it is a gesture of decency."

A  general view during a session of the lower house of parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany July 1, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)
A general view during a session of the lower house of parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany July 1, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)
The German government drafted a law on Wednesday that would ease the path to German citizenship for children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. While there is a long-standing policy of returning citizenship to those hurt by the Nazi regime, not all survivors and their families were able to regain their status as German citizens, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.  
Those who left Nazi Germany and gave up their citizenship before the Nazi regime stripped all German-Jewish persons outside the country of it in 1941, for example, were not able to reclaim it later. Jewish German people in the Nazi state were stripped of their rights. Anyone attempting to flee the Nazis was, after that point, a person without a state. 
Nor could people born to a non-German father and a German mother before April 1, 1953, obtain a German citizenship. 
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer explained that the change, even when approved into law, will not put "things right" but is about "apologizing in profound shame," the German broadcaster noted.   
He added that if people want to become Germans despite the fact "we took everything from their ancestors" it is a "huge fortune for our country."    
This injustice cannot be undone," said President of the German Central Council of Jews Josef Schuster about the Nazi persecution of Jews, "but it is a gesture of decency if they and their descendants are given legal opportunities to regain German citizenship."
Austria also changed its laws in 2019 as it previously only allowed the direct victims of Nazi Germany, meaning survivors, to regain Austrian citizenships. Now they and their children and grandchildren can also become Austrian if they wish. 
The issue concerning German citizenship law became more pressing after Brexit, as more British citizens requested to regain their citizenships in EU-member states. In 2018, some 1,506 such requests were processed by the German state when compared to just 43 in 2015. In June 2020, The Guardian reported that the figure of UK passport holders seeking German citizenship rose 23-fold in 2019 when compared to 2015, a year before the Brexit referendum.
The report noted that most requests were submitted by UK citizens already living in Germany.