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June 25, 2021

People descended from groups persecuted by the Nazis will be able to apply for German citizenship under a new law passed Friday, part of the country’s ongoing efforts to address atrocities committed now several generations ago.

The law has no deadlines and will apply to all descendants of German citizens whose citizenship was revoked when they fled the Nazis or who were prevented from getting citizenship because they were Jewish, Roma or were persecuted by the Nazis for their political beliefs, Reuters reported.

The constitution Germany adopted following World War II allowed people who “were deprived of their citizenship,” but until now, descendants of those people who fled to other countries throughout Europe, North America and beyond have not been able to apply, Deutsche Welle reported


Every party in the German Bundestag supported the law except for Alternative For Germany, a far-right party with connections to Neo-Nazis, according to DW.

“I truly believe that justice has been done for my family. I think my grandfather, who suffered so much, would be proud of what's been achieved today,” Danny Harries, a London resident, told Deutsche Welle. His grandfather arrived in the U.K. through Kindertransport, or child transport, which rescued young German Jews and sent them to live in Britain with foster families or in schools and farms. Harries, 31, had previously been denied citizenship under a loophole closed Friday by the new law.

The German government has attempted to make amends for persecuting Jews and other groups, including Communists and Roma, a stateless ethnic group living throughout Europe, under the Nazi government from 1933 to 1945. Some of its initiatives have been cultural, such as Berlin’s “stumbling stones,” small monuments placed where Jews and others lived which being taken by the Nazis. In 2019, the German government issued an order with similar provisions to the law passed Friday, Reuters reported, but it had apparent loopholes that denied applicants whose persecuted ancestor had a non-German father or, Deutsche Welle reported, if they were born to unmarried parents. The law closes those gaps.

Source: Forbes
Image Source: Getty Images