October 29, 2011

The right of return

Here's an interesting article on Der Spiegel website about how increasing numbers of Jews are exercising their right of return to the land of their parents and grandparents, Germany:
An increased number of American children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors have applied in recent years for the German citizenship stripped from their family members by the Nazis....

Under Article 116 of Germany's constitution, known as the Basic Law, anyone who had their citizenship revoked during the Nazi regime for "political, racist, or religious reasons" is eligible to reapply for German citizenship. The provision also makes allowances for the descendants of Nazi victims, and does not require them to give up the citizenship of their new home countries......

It's been an option for American Jews with German roots for years, but the number of applicants nearly doubled from 2007 to 2008 and has remained high, according to statistics from the German Federal Office of Administration in Cologne. In 2010, there were 815 such applications from the US. There were more applicants from Israel, but the number has steadily declined -- from 3,505 in 2003 to 1,459 last year.
The stats raise more questions then they answer and the answers aren't in the article. I'd be interested to know why there were so many more applications from Israelis of German descent than Americans. Is it because life is better in America than Israel? Is it because more holocaust survivors went to Israel? I doubt if it's that latter.

I suppose I should just be pleased that Germany supports the right of return.


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