I am the grandson of a German Jewish refugee who has recently been granted German citizenship. In 2017, after learning that I might be eligible for a German passport, I applied. Unlike the egregious cases mentioned in your article (Who is German? Families of Jews who fled Nazis fight to be citizens, 10 July), I was successful, but only after lawyers submitted my case in an unconventional way – based upon my grandfather’s circumstances, not my mother’s.
Like Barbara Hanley, whose case most closely mirrors mine, it was my mother who was the German (technically she was stateless – mum was born in London, in 1937, to a Jewish German man and a non-Jewish German woman, both of whom had already been stripped of citizenship). Initially, my lawyers said I would not be entitled to citizenship on the basis of my mother’s status (had she been born a boy I would have had no problem). But by citing my grandfather’s experience they thought I would be accepted. So it proved. I think the fact I used a law firm to make the application helped, as did the fact my grandfather was quite well known in the art world of the time.
The German government disgraces itself by persisting with this blatantly sexist policy on restitution.
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