Compulsory Acquisition of Nationality Case

CourtCourt of Appeal of Cologne (Germany)
Date16 l 1960
Federal Republic of Germany, Court of Appeal of Cologne.
Compulsory Acquisition of Nationality Case.

Nationality — Acquisition of — Compulsory conferment of nationality without application for naturalization — Whether nationality so conferred effective as against foreign States — Hague Convention on Conflict of Nationality Laws, 1930 — The law of Germany.

The Facts.—Section 606b of the German Code of Civil Procedure provides, so far as here material, that the German courts are competent to exercise jurisdiction in divorce suits where one of the parties is stateless and resident in Germany, even though the other party is a foreign national and resident abroad.

In June 1945 the petitioner wife, a German national by origin, married the respondent, a Czechoslovak national, and thereupon acquired Czechoslovak nationality. A Czechoslovak Decree of August 2, 1945, provided for the loss of Czechoslovak nationality by all persons of so-called “German ethnic origin”, and by virtue of this Decree the petitioner became stateless. A Czechoslovak Law of April 24, 1953, provided that persons of “German ethnic origin” then resident in Czechoslovakia who had lost their Czechoslovak nationality by virtue of the Decree of August 2, 1945, re-acquired their previous Czechoslovak nationality with effect from May 7, 1953, the date of entry into force of the Law of April 24, 1953.

The Court found as a fact that, although the petitioner was resident in Czechoslovakia on the relevant date (May 7, 1953), she had never applied for re-naturalization as a Czechoslovak citizen. The petitioner accordingly contended that she was still stateless, on the ground that the Decree of April 24, 1953, was contrary to the recognised rule of international law that no person of full age can be granted a nationality without his consent.

Held: that the petitioner's contention must be upheld. The Decree of April 24, 1953, was contrary to international law, and in particular to Article 1 of the Convention on Conflict of Nationality Laws, 1930. The petitioner had not made an application for naturalization in Czechoslovakia and was therefore stateless, with the result that the German courts were competent to exercise jurisdiction in accordance with Section 606b of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The Court said (in part): “By Law dated April 24, 1953, all persons of German ethnic origin who, in...

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