The Atlantic

Trump Is Driving Some American Jews to Reclaim Citizenship in Europe

Descendants of those who fled Germany decades ago consider heading back.
Source: Oli Scarff / Getty

For years, Elliott Masie pondered the possibility of reclaiming citizenship in Germany, the country his father fled in 1936. But he never felt compelled to act. Then Donald Trump became president of the United States. Spurred by what he described as the disturbing rhetoric of Trump’s campaign and the uncertainty sowed by the election, Masie decided to become a German citizen.

Germany, Spain, and Portugal each have their own legal provisions enabling the descendants of persecuted Jews who once lived in those countries to seek citizenship today. Since 1949, those who were stripped of citizenship for “political, racist, or religious reasons” have been eligible for reclaimed German citizenship along with their families. Spain and Portugal passed similar laws in 2015, allowing descendants of Jews expelled during the Inquisition (which took place over 500 years

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPsychology
Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers
They can be identified by their independent-bookstore tote bags, their “Book Lover” mugs, or—most reliably—by the bound, printed stacks of paper they flip through on their lap. They are, for lack of a more specific term, readers. Joining their tribe
The Atlantic8 min readPolitics
The End of Netanyahu’s Unchecked Reign
The results yielded no clear path to a governing coalition, but represented a rejection of two dangerous ideas.
The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
The Democratic Debates Aren’t Pleasing Anyone
The candidates hate them. The campaigns hate them. The press hates them. For once in American politics, there’s a consensus.