Since September 1, 2020, it has been possible for the descendants of victims of Nazi persecution to obtain Austrian citizenship by “reporting”. Citizenship applications are called “complaints” because one does not want to form an image of an applicant in the context of Nazi victims.
Austria’s historical responsibility
According to the State Department’s estimate, there are about 100,000 people worldwide who are descended from Austrian victims of Nazi persecution. In most cases, it is the children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren of those who were previously persecuted abroad. Most live in Israel, Great Britain, North or South America. “We cannot undo the crimes committed during the Nazi era,” Chancellor Kurz said, stressing Austria’s historical responsibility in New York.
Since the amendment of Section 58 of the Citizenship Act, there has been a great deal of interest in dual Austrian citizenship. An inquiry to the responsible office in Vienna (MA 35) showed that until the end of June 13666 a “notification” had been given.
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More than half of the procedures have already been successfully completed, and nearly 2,500 Austrian nationalities have been issued. 1 percent of all “reports” are negative (138). Karin Jakubowicz from MA 35 explains: “Unfortunately, we also had to dismiss cases, especially if there was no ground for persecution or there was no main place of residence in Austria or citizenship was not proven.” .
A person oppressed by the National Socialists is considered an oppressed person under Article 58c, paragraph 1a of the StbG „A person who, as an Austrian citizen or as a citizen of one of the successor states of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy or a stateless person, whose principal place of residence is in the Federal Territory, has gone abroad before 15 May 1955 because they have been persecuted by the organs of the NSDAP or the Had authorities or have suffered from The Third Reich for good reason or because she was persecuted or had to fear persecution for standing on the side of the Austrian Democratic Republic.”.
Austrians who were persecuted and expelled during the Nazi dictatorship have only been able to apply for Austrian citizenship from abroad since 1993. Although it was taken from them once.
Research team of 50 people
“We tried to keep the bureaucratic process as straightforward as possible,” says Sven Wagner of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, who accompanied the chancellor in the United States. In order to inform those affected of this possibility, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked with the Israeli community, the Austrian National Fund and the Ministry of the Interior. There have been media events in different cities, such as London and Tel Aviv.
“There has been occasional criticism that required validation of documents has incurred fees or that longer Covid-related processing times have resulted,” says Michael Zimmermann, Austria’s ambassador to the UK. many cases.” Those affected are not required to visit archives or collect historical documents. The City of Vienna and the Israeli cultural community began searching the archive after a “complaint,” says Karen Jakubowicz. For this purpose, a team of 50 people was formed in the city of Vienna, consisting of lawyers and historians. However, the people who send the “report” usually also send the documents. They have to prove that they are connected to the persecuted Nazi person.
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