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Jewish Congress Wins Citizenship Restoration Case; Sets Precedent

After five years of litigation instituted by the American Jewish Congress, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia restored full citizenship rights to Morris Mendelsohn, a naturalized American who had been involuntarily stranded in Israel from 1936 to 1953, it was announced here today.

The action by the American Jewish Congress sought to test the constitutionality of a section of the Nationality Act of 1940 that deprives a naturalized U.S. citizen of his nationality if he resides abroad continuously for more than five years. This section of the Nationality Act has no application to native-born citizens who, the AJC argued, are thus given an unconstitutional preference over other classes of citizens.

The case involved Morris Mendelsohn, who was born in Poland and acquired U. S. citizenship in 1923. In 1936, he left for Palestine to manage orange groves owned by his father. In 1941, he sought to return to this country but was unable to do so because of lack of funds and wartime transportation difficulties. At the conclusion of the war, Mendelsohn was prevented from returning due to the serious illness of his wife. By the time she recovered, the State Department cancelled his passport under the Nationality Act of 1940 and refused to admit him to this country.

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