Newsroom / News / Media / Info Magazine LGP NEWS 02/2021 / New law facilitates access to Austrian citizenship

New law facilitates access to Austrian citizenship

for Nazi victims

New law facilitates access to Austrian citizenship

LGP is a long-standing champion of the rights of the Jewish community and all victims of Nazi persecution and their descendants. Managing Partner Gabriel Lansky has played a key role in negotiating the Washington Agreement between Austria and the United States concerning the compensation and restitution for victims of National Socialism.  

LGP is proud to have assisted more than two dozen applicants for Austrian citizenship under a new law easing access to the citizenship for descendants of former Austrian citizens who had to flee the country to escape prosecution by the Nazi regime. Marina Lewin and her family were among the first to apply for Austrian citizenship under this new law, which entered into force in September 2020, with the assistance of LGP. Mrs. Lewin has agreed to speak to LGP News about her experience: 

How did you learn about the new Austrian citizenship law? 

Marina Lewin: I learned about it when visiting the Jewish Museum in Vienna around 2016. At the museum, I was given a tour and access to the archives to learn more about our family history and it is also were I first heard about the discussions regarding this new law. My family had then already been in contact with Austrian authorities regarding our mother’s pension and a reparation our family received from the state. 

How did you come across LGP, and how was the law firm able to support you in the application process? 

Lewin: After we learned about the law coming into force soon, our family decided to go ahead with the application for citizenship. At the same time we were made aware of LGP’s strong engagement for the Jewish community worldwide through acquaintances in Vienna. The team at LGP including Daniel Gros and 

Hussein Al Rawi provided wonderful assistance in getting all the necessary paperwork in order and speaking to the competent authorities in Austria. Even though my husband is a trained lawyer himself, LGP’s assistance was very valuable in ensuring that the requests by the Austrian authorities were correctly understood and responded to. 

While we were extremely lucky to have found a briefcase full of documents central to the process, and the Austrian consulate was assisting us as well, having a local lawyer on the ground speaking German and being able to talk directly to the authorities was highly helpful. 

We are now looking forward to receiving our Austrian passports soon and hope to visit Vienna once the Covid pandemic has eased further. Then we can find out more about our family history and perhaps also meet the lawyers at LGP who have helped us get the Austrian citizenship. 


AUTHORS:

Mag. Hussein Al Rawi, Associate at LANSKY, GANZGER + partner
Daniel Gros, Of Counsel at LANSKY, GANZGER + partner

AMENDED LAW ON AUSTRIAN CITIZENSHIP FOR PERSONS PERSECUTED BY THE NAZI REGIME AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

The new amendment to the law states: Citizenship is open to descendants of an Austrian citizen or a citizen of one of the successor states of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy or a stateless person, with principal residence in the territory of the Republic of Austria, who left Austria before May 15, 1955 

  • because he/she had reason to fear or suffered from persecution by organs of the National Socialist German Workers‘ Party (NSDAP) and/or the authorities of the Third Reich, or 
  • because he/she was subject to persecution or had to fear such persecution for defending the democratic Republic of Austria. 

Citizenship is also open to the descendants of persons falling under the above definition. 

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