Some British Jews are so upset by Brexit, they're seeking German citizenship

Some British Jews are applying for German citizenship after Brexit
(Image credit: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

After British voters collectively decided to leave the European Union in June, Britons who did not want to leave Europe started looking for ways to keep their unfettered access to the Continent. One surprising method embraced by some British Jews is to apply for citizenship in Germany, using a 1949 German law that confers German citizenship on anyone who was stripped of it from 1933 to May 1945 "on political, racial, or religious grounds," including their descendants, The New York Times reports. Most of those people who lost their citizenship during the Nazi regime were Jews, and millions of those who did not escape were killed in concentration camps.

Since the Brexit vote, however, at least 400 Britons have asked the German embassy in London about getting citizenship under that law, called Article 116, and at least 100 individuals and families have already applied, embassy official Knud Noelle tells The New York Times, adding, "We expect more in coming weeks." Among those considering seeking a German passport is Michael Newman, chief executive of the London-based Association of Jewish Refugees, who says he had never heard of such a thing before June. "I don't remember hearing of [German citizenship] requests before" in the group's 75-year history, he told The New York Times. "It's taken Brexit to do this. It was a game-changer." You can read more about the complicated emotional calculus involved in the decision, as well as the practical upsides (dual citizenship!), at The New York Times.

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