Austrian citizenship #austria-czech


E. Randol Schoenberg
 

Not technically about genealogy, but perhaps of interest to our group . . .

Today I was awarded Austrian citizenship. Last year Austria passed a
new citizenship law (Section 64a Abs. 18 StbG) that allows children born
between September 1, 1964 and August 31, 1983 to an Austrian mother to
apply for citizenship. The deadline for application is April 30, 2014.
Several years ago, my mother, who was born in New York in 1940 to
parents who had fled >from Austria, convinced the authorities that they
should award her Austrian citizenship retroactively. I am not sure this
was a normal application of the law, or if they made some exception for
her. In any case, this meant that technically my mother was an Austrian
citizen when I was born. Unfortunately for me at that time, Austrian
law did not allow a child to inherit citizenship >from your mother.

As an aside, my father=92s parents, also Viennese, had Czechoslovakian
citizenship when they fled >from Germany in 1933. Although my
grandfather Arnold SCHOENBERG was born in Vienna in 1874, he was not
able to obtain Austrian citizenship after World War I because of
discriminatory anti-Semitic laws that prohibited "Eastern Jews"
(>from Hungary, Slovakia, Galicia, etc) >from obtaining Austrian
citizenship. Arnold had inherited >from his father the status
"zustaendig nach Pressburg" (meaning he had official residence
rights only in Pressburg/Bratislava), so he automatically became a
citizen of Czechoslovakia after WWI. More recent restitution laws have
corrected this injustice, but not posthumously, so my father is not
entitled to Austrian citizenship. So I had to rely on my mother's
status.

In any case, I applied under the new law, which was a bit cumbersome
(FBI fingerprint reports, apostilled birth and marriage certificates, a
biometric passport photo), and just today received my certificate
awarding me retroactive Austrian citizenship. The good news is that I
can now pass citizenship on to my children. The ones under 14 require
only an application, while the older one first needs to pass a basic
German test and a quiz on Austrian history. But once they are citizens,
they can study and live anywhere in Europe. I figure that this might
come in handy for them someday.

If anyone else is in the same boat, I urge you to contact your nearest
Austrian consulate and get your application in before the April 30
deadline.

Randy Schoenberg
Los Angeles, CA

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