Author: Agence France-Presse
British descendants of refugees who fled Nazi Germany, including many Jewish families, are racing to secure German nationality so they can remain EU citizens after Brexit, according to official data.
The number of Britons applying for German passports using a special legal provision, article 116-2, that aims to make amends for Nazi-era persecutions has soared by more than 1,500% since the UK voted to leave the bloc in June 2016.
Germany received 43 such passport requests in 2015 and 684 in 2016, nearly all of them submitted after the Brexit referendum.
Last year the number jumped again to 1,667 requests, according to figures released by the German interior ministry in response to a parliamentary question.
Under article 116-2 of the constitution, former Germans who lost their citizenship on “political, racial or religious grounds” between the day Adolf Hitler became chancellor on 30 January 1933 and Germany’s surrender on 8 May 1945 can ask to have their citizenship reinstated.
According to the German government, the group “mainly includes German Jews” and members of opposition political parties at the time.
The legal provision is also open to descendants of those who were persecuted and sought safe haven abroad.
Other EU countries have likewise seen a surge in the number of passport applications from British nationals hoping to retain the same rights post-Brexit, including being able to live and work as locals in any member state.
In France there has been an increase of about 800% in the number of Britons asking for citizenship, from 386 in 2015 to 3,173 in 2017.