Additional Activities of the IKG Vienna
For more than ten years the IKG Vienna has been fielding increasing number of requests regarding the restoration and/or granting, and in particular the transfer, of Austrian citizenship. Austrian Holocaust survivors and their descendants maintain an interest in having Austrian citizenship reinstated to their families. For that reason the IKG Vienna has been an active advocate of improvements to statutory citizenship provisions for victims of National-Socialist persecution and their descendants.
Austrian law currently provides for two "naturalization options" for Austrian victims of National-Socialist persecution:
- The amendment to Sec. 58c of the Citizenship Act (Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz, StbG) has been on the books since 1993 and stipulates that victims of National-Socialist persecution once holding Austrian citizenship can de facto re-obtain citizenship by submitting a claim to this effect. Underpinning this amendment is the fact that the decisions to deprive these persons of their Austrian citizenship under the National-Socialist regime were declared null and void by the Republic of Austria, thereby effectively reinstating Austrian citizenship. Subsequently, Austrian survivors were and still are confronted with the problem that they lost their Austrian citizenship once again under Austrian law after having obtained the citizenship of their country of residence. The wording of the amendment to the 1993 Citizenship Act now serves to cushion this "loss" and make a "simple reinstatement" possible. This new provision also made it possible for the victims to maintain their current citizenship in their country of residence.
- Sec. 10 para 4 subpara 2 of the Citizenship Act entitles former citizens of one of the subsequent states of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy or former stateless persons forced to flee Austria as victims of the National-Socialist regime to "facilitated naturalization".
- From the point of view of the IKG Vienna these two principally positive regulations have been diminished by the fact that they do not allow for the transfer of Austrian citizenship to the descendants of Austrian Shoa survivors. As a result, the 1993 amendment to the Citizenship Act has only resolved part of the problem from today's perspective.
Information sheets available for downloading
According to the currently prevailing – and unsatisfactory – legislation, descendants of Austrian citizens only have the option of submitting an application for the determination of Austrian citizenship. In this context, the application is examined – in an often extensive, time-consuming and arduous process – to determine whether the claimant had either previously held or obtained Austrian citizenship, had lost it since or still held Austrian citizenship today.
The IKG Vienna's demands and proposals for improving citizenship legislation were not taken into account in the 2005 amendment to the citizenship laws and are still pending implementation. The following points - with regards to Austrian Holocaust survivors and their descendants – would require an amendment to the current citizenship laws and therefore a broad statutory regulation:
- The problem that the application of Sec. 58c of the Citizenship Act means that Austrian citizenship cannot be extended to descendants and in some cases to spousal partners.
- Discrimination against legitimate children, who were born before September 1, 1983, to female victims of National-Socialist persecution holding Austrian citizenship. Reinstatement of Austrian citizenship is only possible for legitimate children born prior to this date if their father was or still is an Austrian citizen.
- Discrimination of Jewish persons who held a foreign citizenship or were stateless and living in Austria as of March 13, 1938.