If the country that persecuted your family offered you citizenship, what would you do? Stewart Florsheim has this Perspective.
Several years ago, I found out that I could apply for German citizenship and become a dual national. The ruling is for descendants of people who were persecuted for political, racial, or religious reasons between 1933 and 1945 and, as a result, lost their citizenship.
I felt very conflicted about it. My mother is a Holocaust survivor and my father, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany. I grew up in a German-Jewish section of Manhattan, and most of my friends were also children of refugees. Although many of us grew up speaking German, we also grew up with an animosity towards anything related to Germany.
I finally decided to apply. My main motivation was the political situation in the US. I knew I would likely never move to Germany, but I wanted to have access to the EU in case this country moved too far to the right. I also wanted to pave the way for my children to have the same opportunity.
After I submitted my application, it took about six months until I received an email from the German government telling me my naturalization had been approved.