German flags at Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
German flags at Reichstag, Berlin, GermanyiStock

Germany has passed a landmark citizenship law that will make it easier for Jews whose families fled Nazi Germany to regain their citizenship.

The “reparation citizenship” regulation passed the Bundestag lower House of Parliament with a majority vote during an extended session just before summer recess.

The citizenship law was also updated to exclude people convicted of racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic acts from naturalization.

Under current law people who had their citizenship taken away under political racial or religious grounds can appeal to have it restored. The law includes their descendants.

However, there are legal loopholes that have prevented most people from making use of the law, reported BBC News.

One of the new law’s reforms closed a loophole that prevented descendants of those persecuted by the Nazis from being granted German passports.

“This is not just about putting things right, it is about apologizing in profound shame,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in a March statement after the government agreed upon a draft law. “It is a huge fortune for our country if people want to become German, despite the fact that we took everything from their ancestors.”

Germany’s post-war constitution allows citizenship to be restored to victims of the Nazis, yet there was no legal framework for how to do so. This led to many applications being rejected.

Some people were not able to obtain citizenship because they were descendants of people who had moved abroad and taken on another citizenship before their Germany citizenship was lost.

Others had difficulties because they were born to only one German parent.

A legal decree was drafted in 2019 to close the loopholes. Now, with the decree passing the lower house, those wishing to regain their German citizenship with have a more solid legal basis for their case.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)