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REVOKING HITLER’S PASSPORT,1518,471168,00.html
Hitler May Be Stripped of German Citizenship
By Per Hinrichs / 03/12/2007

Almost 62 years after his death, Adolf Hitler could lose his German citizenship. A German politician from Braunschweig wants to revoke the Nazi leader’s 1932 naturalization — as a “symbolic step.” When Adolf Hitler was awarded German citizenship, he abruptly brushed off the congratulations: “You should congratulate Germany, not me!”

It was Feb. 25, 1932 and Hitler had just been naturalized after being appointed as a civil servant in the then-free state of Braunschweig — a crucial step for the continuation of his political career. Three quarters of a century later, Isolde Saalmann, a Social Democratic member of Lower Saxony’s regional parliament, would like nothing better than to rescind this momentous bureaucratic act. The Austrian-born Führer, who has been dead for almost 62 years, should no longer be a German, in her view. Stripping him of his citizenship would be a “symbolic step,” Saalmann believes. She has already proposed her idea to the leadership of the SPD faction in the regional parliament.

Saalmann is chairwoman of the party’s local association in Braunschweig’s Gliesmarode neighborhood — and she’s rankled by her city’s historical connection to Hitler. She talks about a “Braunschweig complex” burdening the town, which prefers to advertize itself as the “lion city” due to its historical connection with Henry the Lion, the powerful duke who ruled the state in the 12th century. “If the Lower Saxony region, the legal successor to the former free state of Braunschweig, were to distance itself from Hitler’s naturalization, that would perhaps help,” Saalmann told the newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.

A stateless immigrant
The story of Hitler’s naturalization process resembles something of a farce. The then-stateless would-be politician had long been pushing to become a German citizen — a precondition for holding political office in the Weimar Republic. But, true to his characteristic megalomania, he refused to go and stand in line at the registration office like everyone else. He wanted German citizenship brought to him on a platter.

But the native Austrian’s difficult moods foiled the first attempts at making him a German citizen. In 1930, a member of the Nazi Party arranged for him to be appointed chief constable of Hildburghausen, a town in Germany’s Thuringia region. This would automatically have made Hitler a German citizen. But the future Führer made a fuss: The job as a village cop wasn’t to his liking.

Then members of the Nazi party in Braunschweig — a stronghold of the Nazi movement — eventually found a way. Their first attempt to install Hitler as a professor at Braunschweig’s Technical University failed, but they later succeeded in finding him a position with the Braunschweig land surveying office. Time was short, since Hitler wanted to run as a candidate in the imminent presidential elections. The Ministry of State then gave him the office of “administrator for the Braunschweig delegation in Berlin.” Devoid of all professional skills qualifying him for this position, the newly-naturalized immigrant immediately made several requests for vacation. And, as planned, he never took office.

Bureaucratic hurdles
The means by which Hitler obtained a German passport may have been unusual. But Saalmann’s project of expatriating Hitler faces a small problem: German constitutional law prohibits stripping a person of their citizenship if they would then become stateless — as Hitler would, since he had already surrendered his Austrian citizenship in 1925.

He ought really to have been expelled from the country a year earlier, since he had been found guilty of high treason and imprisoned following the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. But the sympathetic nationalist judge held that the relevant laws of the Weimar Republic couldn’t be applied to a man “who thinks and feels like a German, as Hitler does.” And so the Nazi leader remained in Germany.

Lawyers have their doubts as to whether a dead man can be stripped of his citizenship at all — although Hitler was already stripped of his status as honorary citizen of Braunschweig in 1946. “Dead is dead,” commented an official from Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Justice. “There’s nothing more you can take away from them.”

Meanwhile, legal experts working for Lower Saxony’s regional parliament are looking into Saalmann’s odd proposal. It will probably take them a few weeks to reach a decision on Hitler’s citizenship. Isolde Saalmann rejects allegations that her proposal is tailored to win her votes during the next regional elections. “This will be my last legislative period,” she insists.

German party seeks to strip Hitler of citizenship
BY Dave Graham  /  Mar 12, 2007

BERLIN (Reuters) – A regional branch of one of Germany’s main political parties is planning a legal bid to have Adolf Hitler posthumously stripped of his German citizenship.

Some 75 years after Braunschweig (Brunswick) enabled the then stateless Hitler to get German citizenship, Social Democrats (SPD) in the state that now incorporates the former statelet want to strip the Nazi dictator of his nationality. “It’s meant as a symbolic gesture,” said Simon Kopelke, parliamentary spokesman for the SPD in the state of Lower Saxony, on Monday. “But it’s also what Braunschweig wants.”

“Who would want Hitler to have wormed his way into citizenship in their home city, of all places?” he told Reuters. Braunschweig has had to live with the stigma of being the city which helped Hitler become a German citizen, thereby providing him with the platform he
used to seize power.

The Austrian-born Hitler gave up his Austrian citizenship in 1925 and only obtained German nationality when Nazi officials in Braunschweig secured a position for him as a civil servant in the local administration in late February 1932. As a civil servant, Hitler was automatically granted German citizenship, which allowed him to stand for election as president of the German Reich the following month.

Although he did not secure enough votes to win, the Nazis were soon the strongest party in Germany’s parliament, the Reichstag, and the following year Hitler became Chancellor. Kopelke said the SPD, which was banned by the Nazis when Hitler came to power, hoped the plan initiated by a local member of the state parliament would help to shed more light on how the former art student rose to the top in Germany.

“It’s not something that gets a lot of attention,” he said. “Whether Hitler was a German citizen or not was never something one gave much thought — it’s just something that was assumed.” Kopelke said the SPD was presently only trying to ascertain whether stripping Hitler of his citizenship was possible. Although the SPD governs Germany at federal level in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, it is not in power in Lower Saxony, and the move would need the backing of the ruling party — Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

“So far all we’ve heard from the (Christian Democrat) interior ministry is that they don’t think there’s any legal way of posthumously revoking someone’s citizenship,” he said. “But if there is a possibility, then we’ll pursue it.”