The German government on Wednesday agreed to draft a law that would allow more descendants of those persecuted by Nazis to reclaim German citizenship.

The government said the new law would be a change to rules adopted in 2019, which were supposed to give descendants of Nazi victims more opportunities to acquire citizenship.

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

Some descendants of Nazi victims have been denied citizenship because their ancestors fled Germany and changed citizenship before Nazi Germany revoked theirs, according to Deutsche Welle. Others were denied German citizenship because they were born before April 1, 1953, to a German mother but a non-German father.

In 1941, the Nazi regime revoked the citizenship of German Jews living outside the country, which left Jewish refugees stateless. Beforehand, many victims of Nazi persecution had their citizenship stripped for political or racial reasons.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews campaigned for the new law.

The organization’s president, Josef Schuster, said: “During the Nazi era, countless German Jews were forced to flee or were expatriated. In addition, Jews were fundamentally excluded from acquiring German citizenship due to racist legislation. This injustice cannot be undone. But it is a gesture of decency if they and their descendants are given legal opportunities to regain German citizenship.”


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