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I'm trying to determine if I might be eligible for German citizenship under Article 116(2) of the Basic Law. Article 116(2) affords restoration of citizenship for those who were stripped of it by the Nazis.

I'm having trouble parsing the guidance that the German government has offered. Specifically, I can't tell whether somebody whose only blood link to Germany is a female would be eligible for citizenship.

These two pieces of guidance seem contradictory:

(English) guidance on eligibility for Article 116 (2) restoration

(German) guidance on eligibility for children born to mothers abroad

From 1:

Born between April 1, 1953, and December 31, 1974 During this period, German citizenship generally could be derived only from the father. It could be handed down from the mother only if the child otherwise would have been stateless. If this was not the case, it was possible to acquire German citizenship from the mother through a statement. This option, however, was available only until December 31, 1977. For reasons of restitution, the Federal Office of Administration applies Article 116 (2) of the Basic Law also to these descendants of formerly German mothers.

From 2 (translated with Google):

I. Who can be naturalized? Persons who after 23.05.1949 and before 01.01.1975 as a child of a German Mother and a foreign father are born married and their mother on the day of birth a) was in German citizenship or (b) was no longer in possession of her German nationality, since she was in possession of her German nationality 23.05.1949 according to then valid law by marriage with a foreigner had lost or c) her German nationality between 30.01.1933 and 08.05.1945 deprived of marriage for political, racial or religious reasons before marriage had been.

1 and 2 appear to disagree on someone born to a would-be German mother and a foreign father born between 1953 and 1975. Would such a person in fact be eligible for Article 116 (2) restoration?

  • I'm not sure if someone would be eligible if their mother didn't petition for citizenship before 1977. Maybe that is a misreading. – qqqq Jan 21 '18 at 1:36
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I don't see any contradiction or disagreement, as I understand it.

People whose parent had their German citizenship stripped by the Nazis are eligible to restore their citizenship now under the process described in the first link, but only if they descend from the parent under the following conditions: fathers can pass citizenship to children born in any year, but mothers can only pass it to children born after 1953.

If you were born between 1953 and 1975 and your mother was a German citizen when you were born, then your mother could have petitioned for your citizenship before 1977. But if your mother didn't petition for your citizenship at that time, or if your mother wasn't a citizen when you were born due to foreign marriage or the citizenship having been stripped by the Nazis and thus couldn't have petitioned for your citizenship at the time, then you now qualify for naturalization under the process described in the second link, if you can demonstrate fluency in German and/or other connections to Germany. (And this process also applies to people born between 1949 to 1953, whose mothers couldn't have petitioned for their citizenship.)

There seems to be some overlap between the two -- people who were born between 1953 and 1975 to a would-be-German mother whose citizenship was stripped by the Nazis and who could demonstrate fluency in German can qualify for German citizenship under either route. But there are people who only qualify under one or the other. For example, people who were born between 1949 and 1953 to a would-be-German mother whose citizenship was stripped by the Nazis could only qualify under the second route. And conversely people born between 1953 and 1975 to a would-be-German mother whose citizenship was stripped by the Nazis, but who cannot meet the conditions of naturalization under the second path (e.g. insufficient income or lack of fluency in German), can only qualify under the first route.

-2

A recent decree (August 30, 2019) eliminated the distinction of whether the ancestor whose citizenship was stripped was male or female. Many people who weren’t eligible before that date are now eligible. It was a terrible injustice that descendants of women affected by Nazi-era racial laws would have less claim than descendants of men. I’m currently applying.

Here is a link to the press release for the decree:

https://uk.diplo.de/blob/2244512/012493c208923714e587704809e4b8ea/citizenship-decree--data.pdf

It's also described here:

https://www.germany.info/us-en/service/03-Citizenship/restoration-of-german-citizenship/925120

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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