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 German citizenship between 1918 and 1933, if the government deemed them to be “unworthy”
  • Persons whose names were published in the government gazette Deutscher Reichsanzeiger
  • German citizens of Jewish faith, who at any time between 25 November 1941 and 8 May 1945 were 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 23rd May 1949, with the entry into force of the Basic Law.

A person who 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 article 116 (ii) of German Basic Law.

The position of descendants of a person who lost German citizenship under the Nazi laws is complex due to court judgements of the 1980s which narrowed the meaning of “descendant” to a legitimate descendent who would hypothetically today be a German citizen under the operation of laws in force after May 1945, ignoring the loss by the acquisition of a foreign nationality and certain deadlines for registration. This restrictive interpretation can be a painful surprise, but in many cases, it is possible to apply for exemption and a judgement in 2020 removed the requirement for the births in the line of descent to all be legitimate (see


The German government processing times for citizenship applications outside of Germany have increased to over two years, therefore we feel unable to provide new clients with the service that we would want to. So, for the time being, we are not providing services to German Citizenship aside from our existing clients.

We are monitoring the situation and may resume services should things change. We hope that the information above was useful. If so, please let us know on one of our social media platforms, such as our Facebook page.


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