German Nationality Cannot Be Reimposed on Stateless Persons Against Will, Court Rules

The Supreme Court of Appeals here today handed down a ruling declaring that German nationality cannot be reimposed upon stateless persons against their will.

The ruling came in the case of a Jewish woman who, prior to the outbreak of World War II, came to Paris as a refugee from Germany. After the liberation of France, she claimed her Paris apartment. However, the occupants refused to vacate it, asserting that the decree ordering the returning of apartments was inapplicable to the Jewish woman because she was German and was therefore an enemy alien.

The argument of the occupants was rejected by a lower court, which ruled that the Jewish woman was entitled to benefits from the restitution decree. The occupants thereupon appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that the claimant had automatically become again a German citizen when Nazi legislation was abrogated after the fall of the Hitler regime. In today’s ruling, however, the Supreme Court of Appeals made it clear that the abolition of Nazi laws does not restore German nationality to persons of German origin who became stateless.

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