Even after 85 years, you can get the citizenship you are entitled to

A happy end after 85 years: German citizenship for Yudith R. and her family handed personally by the German Ambassador to Israel in person in an Israeli Kibbutz.

When a London based manager from Israel called to the bnt office in Prague in mid-2020 with the request for German citizenship, this did not seem to be a case for bnt.

However, his question was interesting: after Brexit and with the end of the transition period approaching, he needed a EU passport for working in London and the Netherlands (he was a British and Israeli citizen), but his grandmother, born as Edith Nachmann in 1920 in Rastatt in the South West of Germany and had emigrated to Palestine in 1937. A quick research on the internet revealed, that a so-called Stolperstein – stumble-stone – was laid in front of the house in Augustastr. 48 in Rastatt in commemoration of the whole family of Karl Nachmann and his wife Else Nachmann, born Maier and their five daughters who had to flee Germany. But really astonishing was the fact, that Gertrud was still living in the US at the age of then 105, and Edith in a Kibbutz in Israel had just turned 100 years. What followed were hasty archival researches in Germany (Rastatt, Köln (Cologne), from where Edith´s husband, a Polish citizen of Jewish origin, had emigrated to Palestine in 1938). Research was necessary in Israel, too, where Edith had married in the beginning of 1942, when Edith was already stateless as a result of the infamous 11th regulation of the German citizenship law of 25 November 1941. Originals from the registration offices in Rastatt and Israel were ordered. A legal examination revealed, that only after the decision of the German Constitutional Court on 20 May 2020 (2 BvR 2628/18), the case had become solvable under Art. 116 cl. 2 Grundgesetz (the German Constitution), as this decision had removed a long term discrimination of German female citizens, marrying foreigners till 1953 and thus not being able to give to their children the German citizenship.

Applications of Edith, her daughter, her grandson and of three greatgrandchildren were handed in in October 2020 with the German Embassy in London. Within ca. 15 days they were approved by the BVA in Cologne because of the age of the main applicant, belonging to the so-called “Erlebnisgeneration”, an euphemism for witnesses surviving the German anti-Jewish policies between 1933 and 1945. Due to Corona and lockdowns in Israel, handing out the certificate of citizenship was delayed until February 2021, as this certificate had to be handed over in person to the applicant according to § 16 German citizenship law. In addition, Yudith R. – under this name she lived in the same Kibbutz since 1937 – was not able to come to the counter at the Tel Aviv based German Embassy. In a rare act of bureaucratic flexibility of the German Embassy, the Ambassador of Germany in Israel handed the certificate of citizenship in person to Yudith R. almost 85 years after her forced emigration to Palestine – exactly one year ago, in February 2021. The old lady asked: “Are we now friends again?”, and the Ambassador agreed.

We are glad to have helped a bit to bring this dramatic story to a good end and a bit of justice to Edith Nachmann´s family.

Subscribe to our newsletter

By pressing Subscribe you consent to our data processing terms