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:
Please fill out the application forms (please see bottom of page):
- form “A” for adults and/or “AK” for children under 16 years of age
- only if applicable: form “VA” (Annex “Ancestors”)
Gather all relevant documents. (see below)
Appointment at the German Consulate Toronto (by appointment only)
Sending your application and documents by mail:
Your application will be forwarded to the Federal Office of Administration (Bundesverwaltungsamt) in Cologne, Germany for processing.
- valid passport of the applicant
- birth certificate of the applicant
- birth certificates of the applicant's parents
- marriage certificate of the applicant's parents
- former German passports and other documents of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents, that prove their former German citizenship
- naturalization certificates of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents
- all other documents that prove former German citizenship and Jewish faith
- if other Family members have already applied for/been granted German citizenship: naturalization certificate (“Einbürgerungsurkunde”, if available), otherwise name, date of birth, file number and where/when they have applied
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 2 years 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.
More Information can be found on the website of the Federal Administration Office (Bundesverwaltungsamt) - only in German language for now: Einbürgerung im Rahmen der Wiedergutmachung
Application form “A” for regaining German citizenship for former Germans deprived of their citizenship - for persons aged 16 years or over
Application form “AK” for regaining German citizenship for former Germans deprived of their citizenship - for persons under 16 years