A British lady, who is the descendant of Holocaust survivors, wants German citizenship. Not because of any particular love for Germany, but because Brexit makes her feel that Britain is no longer safe for minorities.
Natasha Walter, a writer and refugee worker, claims: “I see many of the experiences of my grandparents when they lost their homeland being repeated in this generation. The refugees I work with in the UK don’t have the right to work, they are exploited, they live in limbo, they wait years for citizenship, they are detained, they have left family members behind and they deal with all of that as they try to move on from the trauma they are fleeing.”
Most of that is patently untrue, but rather than debate the issues, I want to focus on the lady’s motivations.
While I can certainly understand how panic and fear can cause someone to make rash decisions, this strikes me as foolish. Returning to a country that killed your ancestors and turning away from the country that provided a safe haven is downright bizarre.
Like the author, all of my great grandparents where immigrants, coming from Lithuania and the Ukraine (places famous for vicious anti-Semitism and pograms). Not once in my life have I ever wanted to return to those countries and live, nor do I want citizenship. I’m curious to see those places, sure, but to live? Never! I am so thankful that my family came to America and provided the best possible place to grow up and have citizenship. Returning to where they fought so hard to leave would make a mockery of their efforts.
Life in America and in Britain is so much better and freer for the average citizen. Every single day we get to experience things that folks in other countries only dream of, which is proven by the huge numbers who want U.S. and U.K. citizenship. Brexit was about allowing British citizens to have more control over their own nation and not be subjected to the EU as the final decision maker. It is not about racism, xenophobia, hating Muslims or anything like that.
Certainly, in a free world, if an individual wants to leave the place of their birth and become a legal citizen of another country, they have the right to do so. But it strikes me as so sad and strange that people want to denounce Britain and America when those countries are the freest of all, with the most opportunity. Going back to Germany is not the answer.
Should Jews of German heritage reclaim German citizenship? I vote no.