Regaining German citizenship for former Germans deprived of their citizenship

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Former German citizens, who lost their German citizenship under the Nazi-regime due to political, racist or religious reasons and who reside abroad, can apply for Naturalization. The same applies to their children, if they would have become Germans had their parent(s) not lost their German citizenship.

Citizenship Deprivation between 1933 and 1945

Between January 30, 1933, and May 8, 1945, there were essentially two laws that deprived Germans of their citizenship.  Under the “Law on the Revocation of Naturalizations and the Deprivation of the German Citizenship” of July 14, 1933, some Germans lost their citizenship after their names were listed and published in the Reich Law Gazette (“Reichsgesetzblatt”). 

The vast majority of former German citizens, however, lost their citizenship when the “Eleventh Decree to the Law on the Citizenship of the Reich” came into effect on November 25, 1941.  This law stated that Jews living outside Germany could not be German citizens, and mainly affected Jews who had left Germany in the years before or shortly after the beginning of the Second World War.

What does this mean for you?

If you lost your German citizenship because of either one of these two regulations, you are entitled to renaturalization according to German law.  This also applies in most cases to your descendents.

If, while living outside Germany, you acquired a foreign citizenship before your name was published in the Reich Law Gazette or before November 25, 1941, you lost your German citizenship as any other German citizen would have lost it.  However, if you emigrated from Nazi Germany for political reasons and applied for naturalization in your new home country as a result of this situation, you may be able to reobtain your German citizenship.  In cases like these, your descendents would not be eligible to gain German citizenship. 

How to proceed:

How to proceed

1.

Please fill out the application form.

2.

Gather all relevant documents.

3.

Appointment at the German Consulate Toronto:

  • Bring the filled out application form.
  • Bring all originals and 2 copies of all documents.
  • Your signature and copies of your documents will be certified at the German Consulate Toronto free of charge.

OR

Sending your application and documents by mail:

  • Have the signature on the application form certified by a notary public.
  • Have certified copies of all relevant documents made by a notary public.
  • Send the application form and the certified copies to the German Consulate Toronto by mail.

4.

Your application will be forwarded to the Federal Office of Administration (Bundesverwaltungsamt) in Cologne, Germany for processing.

Relevant documents (for example)

old German passports of the German emigrant

birth certificates of the emigrant

marriage certificates

copies of the naturalization papers of other states where the German emigrant became a citizen after leaving Germany

all certificates of birth and marriage needed to prove your descent from the former citizen

  • All documents written in a language other than German should be accompanied by an official translation.
  • The application process is free of charge and may take up to a year to process, depending on the ability of the German Federal Office of Administration to find the necessary documents in archives in Germany.  

The more information you provide, the easier it will be to track down the required information.  If you have family members who have already gone through the application process, please provide information on their applications or send in a copy of their German certificates of naturalization (“Einbürgerungsurkunde”). 

Please mention any name changes due to naturalization.  Also, please provide information on any transcriptions of German names into foreign languages (e.g. Müller to Mueller/Muller/Miller or Grünspan to Greenspan), any abbreviations of first names (e.g. Alfred to Fred or Johann to John), or even complete changes of first and last names.  

Regaining German citizenship (Repatriation according to Art. 116IIGG)

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