People deprived of German citizenship between 1933 and 1945 may have a claim to recover citizenship. Descendants qualify, with exceptions.

In that period, German citizenship was stripped from:

  • Individual people who acquired the German citizenship between 1918 and 1933, if the government deemed them to be “unworthy”
  • Jewish persons whose names were published in the newspaper Deutscher Reichsanzeiger in 1933
  • Any German citizen of Jewish faith, who at any time between 27 November 1941 and 8 May 1945 was living outside Germany

These denaturalisations have remained legally valid, but these individuals and in certain cases their descendants could re-claim their German citizenship from the 24th May 1949, with the entry into force of the Basic Law.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of EuropeWhoever returned to Germany after 8 May 1945, would have regained their citizenship automatically, unless they showed a contrary intention.  Others may formally apply for recovery under §116 (ii).

The position of descendants of such a person is complex, due to court judgements (in 1977, 1980 and 1983) which narrow the meaning of ‘descendant’, to a legitimate descendent who would hypothetically today be a German citizen under operation of laws in force after May 1945, ignoring loss by acquisition of a foreign nationality and certain deadlines for registration, i.e. selectively counterfactual. This restrictive interpretation can be a painful surprise, but in some cases it may be possible to apply for discretionary naturalisation.

If you, your parent or grandparent lost German citizenship on the basis of being Jewish or from a different persecuted group, and you would like to know whether you have a claim to acquire German citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us.


To discuss an assessment of your claim to German citizenship, call +1 (305) 770 6530 or complete the Contact Us form on the right