Brexit prompts Harpenden resident to seek German citizenship

Carol Hedges

Carol Hedges - Credit: Archant

Unimpressed by the Brexit result, a resident has tracked down relatives who perished in a concentration camp in hopes of gaining German citizenship.

Harpenden resident and author, Carol Hedges, 66, spent a week desperately searching for details that corroborate that her grandparents, who were from Germany, died at Auschwitz during the Holocaust in a bid to restore German citizenship within the family.

Article 116, paragraph two of Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, states that people who were deprived of their citizenship between 1933 and 1945 on political, radical or religious grounds are able to have it restored, including their descendants.

In light of this, Carol sent her family name out to cyberspace in an attempt to find details about her grandparents, Alma and Raphaele. She eventually discovered their names on a deportation list from Berlin and on a register of murdered Jews from Germany. In addition, she located a map which identified her grandparent’s final destination as Katowice, in Poland, the location of Auschwitz concentration camp under the heading ‘Fate, one word: murdered’.”

The information has since been passed on to the German Embassy and she is now waiting to find out if she has been granted dual UK-German nationality.

Carol said the reason behind restoring her citizenship was down to the result of the European Union Referendum in June, which saw the majority of the country vote for Britain to leave.

She said: “It was a strong sense that, for the second time, my right to citizenship of a country was being taken from me without my permission.

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“The first time around, obviously I wasn’t around, was when my family was declared ‘non-people’ by Hitler. Now, after the EU Referendum, my right to work, travel and study in Europe, and especially the right of my family to do the same, was again removed.”

Despite her mission to find the right information, Carol said she did not plan to move to Germany if her application was successful.

She continued: “I’m 66, so I’m a bit too old to up sticks, but it will give my grandchildren the chance to travel freely, study and work abroad if they decide they want to.”

She has since been filmed for Austrian TV to discuss her decision with the Austrian public broadcaster, ORF.

Carol added: “My documents are all in Cologne at the moment. As I have proof that my paternal grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz, the government should, under the restored citizenship rules, grant me nationality.

“I will then have dual UK-German nationality, which I can pass on to my family.”