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Czech Jews Abroad May Lose Citizenship As a Result of New National Council Measures

A number of Czechoslovakians living abroad may be deprived of their citizenship as a result of amendments to the citizens law recently passed by the Czech National Council. The amendments authorize the Ministry of Interior to rescind the nationality of persons who left the country “illegally” and failed to return within a stipulated time after being notified by the Ministry.

According to a spokesman for the Council of Jews from Czechoslovakia here, this could affect Jews who fled Czechoslovakia at the time of the Soviet-led invasion in August, 1968 and who have not returned. The amendments also permit the state to withdraw citizenship from persons who allegedly harm the vital interests of Czechoslovakia abroad, who possess a second nationality or have lived abroad for more than five years without valid Czechoslovakian papers. Another provision covers persons affiliated with organizations deemed hostile to the state.