The Meaning Of The May 20 German Supreme Court Decision on Immigration

German Jewish Family, before WWII: Only two members of the family survived the war. Source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

German Supreme Court Case no. 2 BvR 2628/18, decided May 20 and which just made (literally) global headlines is important for a number of reasons — not just because it appears to mean that I get German citizenship rights, and further, apparently, retroactively from the time I was born (53 years ago).

According to one German human rights attorney, the case effectively “ends discrimination in (German) citizenship cases.” I am not sure about that. Immigration and citizenship are notoriously difficult things to achieve except the “natural” way (i.e. by birth). Discrimination by definition, is the hallmark of this kind of passage.

Regardless, the case is significant for several large reasons beyond the fact that it effectively ends the question posed for most of my life at least — namely do Germans want to finally admit that “coming home” for a certain class of people (and of particular a Jewish heritage) has never been “easy.”

The decision in the case, which is stunning primarily because it took so long for these issues to get addressed, is also a big one for Germany. Namely recognizing the terrible destruction of not only human beings individually but also often widely developed social networks that spread not just within the Jewish community but often far beyond. But it is also a stunning immigration case, generally, in that it establishes clearly that “illigitimate” children should not necessarily (and certainly not in this case) be assigned to the mother. Starting with, in my case, horrific child abuse including incest, but that is another blog or two. If not another few court cases in other venues coming relatively soon.

The fact that I was “illigitimate” in other words, certainly at the time I had a relationship with my father, did not matter. He was my father. We lived together as a family until I was 12. It was only after I was human trafficked that this ever became an issue I had to think about (indeed the fact that my parents were not married was used against both my father and me as I tried to establish the relationship with him and bring him back here as an old man).

As rightly recognized by the German Court in May, these are bonds that were developed independent of, although certainly influenced by events my father had to survive. Starting with the terrible destruction of not only his first, biological family by the Nazis, but then his own families he tried to build subsequently (and in my mother’s case deliberately trying to inflict similiar kinds of damage).

Beyond twisted family lore, however, the case is also a unique reverse twist, historically. The first Supreme Court decision in Germany, in 1936 was specifically about sex (of any kind, including that leading to children) between Jews and non-Jews.

It’s been a big week, in other words.

How this will affect other matters affected to all of this is still unclear, although personally, I would say after winning a human rights case at this level, beyond long delayed citizenship, perhaps now law enforcement will prosecute, finally, one of the longest unsolved crimes against one of Germany’s oldest Jewish families that has never been stopped, much less prosecuted.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marguerite Arnold

Marguerite has covered the legal cannabis industry internationally from Germany for over six years and is the author of several books plus a Cannatech geek