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Polish/EU Citizenship by Descent



Archive Dweller    
22 Feb 2017  #31

The website for the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego in Warsaw is here, and it has a phone number and FAX but no email-
usc.um.warszawa.pl/siedziby-usc/siedziba-usc-w-dzielnicy-r-dmie-cie
You can write them in English, but official responses must be written in Polish. So, you may need your response translated if you can't speak to them on the phone. The problem will be making payment for the documents without a bank account in Poland.

Yes, it is quite possible that Gramps P were married before arriving in Italy. Maybe the IRC could help with this? IMHO, if you can't produce the actual marriage certificate, but have enough other supporting documentation that they had claimed to have been married, (i.e., census records, death certificates, etc.) it shouldn't cause a problem. The marriage certificate is needed to prove legitimate birth when claiming through the father. Since both grandparents were clearly Polish, then so what? If the claim can't be made through the father, then it would clearly exist through the mother if not married. That is a logical argument. Under the circumstances of the war and the holocaust, I don't think you would get denied on this point. If you did, then it would be a compelling issue to take to the President of Poland.

I still don't know that Granpa M actually lost his Polish citienship. He might have abandoned claiming Polish citizenship, or have been confused about Polish law. (After the war, few people wanted to return to Poland and the communists.) I would request his birth records from the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego in Zamosc. If he hadn't yet served in the Polish military, then serving in a foreign military, regardless of how many, didn't deprive him of Polish citizenship. He would have lost Polish citizenship if he was living in the Soviet Union AFTER the war, but if he was moving around a lot, probably not. With his birth record you can prove that he was a Polish citizen at birth. Let them try to rebut that if they want, but unless you have a document in your possesion from the Polish govenment stating that his citizenship was revoked, I wouldn't abandon your claim through him. The more connections with Poland you can prove, the better for your claim.

Grandma M is a mystery. I would recommend getting her death certificate and try to learn where her parents were from, and when they left. You could also request any passport records from the Polish government for her and her parents. I get the impression that they were Zionists, so they left well before the war. You might get some records from passenger ships regarding this.

I am happy to help. I have a bit of time on my hands unexpectedly.


OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
22 Feb 2017  #32

Can I submit my paternal grandmother's birth certificate instead of the marriage certificate? I'm pretty sure she was born in Vilnius in the early 1920s. But regardless, I though female ancestors didn't count when it came to Polish citizenship. Someone told me that getting Polish citizenship through my grandmother isn't an option because the Poles only consider male ancestors for citizenship by descent.

Alternatively, can I use my dad's birth certificate to show that his parents were married when he was born. I'm assuming birth certificates have the parents' martial status on them, do they not?

I think my maternal grandfather mentioned that he served or was ordered to serve in the Polish Army and then left or escaped to join the Soviet/Red army. I'm not sure exactly what happened when, but I'm assuming this probably happened at some point after he left Zamosc.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
22 Feb 2017  #33

I really appreciate your help and all the information that you've given me, but I don't think that proving citizenship through my maternal grandfather is going to work. We've been working on this whole Polish citizenship thing for a 7-8 years now. We've been working on it for so long that the lawyer I mentioned before has pretty much given up on us because she doesn't think we're ever going to be able to find all the necessary paperwork. I'm pretty sure someone in my family looked into trying to obtain it through my maternal grandfather at some point and was told it wasn't an option. I don't know if the lawyer I mentioned before told them that, but I'm pretty sure it's not possible.
Archive Dweller    
22 Feb 2017  #34

Before 1951, Polish citizenship was conferred by the father if legitimate, and by the mother if illegitimate. After that, citizenship was conferred by either parent. The paperwork to request recognition of Polish citizenship enquires about both parents and the grandparents. The more Polish you can appear on that document, the better. So I recommend including Grandma P's birth certificate, and other documents supporting that she was married. Poland doesn't have a common law system, but I don't know exactly how pedant the requirements are. My advise is to submit as many documents as possible about all grandparents. It may be that you simply need to consult a different lawyer.

Many Jews in the East were not loyal to Poland, but if your M grandfather had been 15 in 1939, he would have been too young to be conscripted into the Polish army. Sounds like he had preferred serving in the Soviet army over the Polish Home Army (the underground resistance) when the Nazi invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Under the circumstances, I don't know how that could be proven conclusively, or that it would matter. You could even enquire with the Russians about producing your grandfather's military file, but at present, ignorance is bliss for you. You might also enquire with the British to see if he was part of Gen. Anders' Second Polish Army under British command, or joined the British Army in Palestine. You can learn a lot about history from your genealogy.
Archive Dweller    
22 Feb 2017  #35

Just to add, if this lawyer didn't advise you to start gathering your grandparents' birth certificates in the Polish Urząd Stanu Cywilnego, and didn't advise you that the President of Poland has the constitutional power to grant/recognize citizenship, and it might be used in cases like missing documents for people who fled the holocaust, I seriously question the competency of this lawyer.
Archive Dweller    
22 Feb 2017  #36

There are some very good online references to the applicable Polish citizenship acts-
polishcitizenship.pl/law/
polish-citizenship.pl/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=9&Itemid=173&lang=en

So one relevant article at issue-

Children of wedlock acquire their father's citizenship by birth; children out of wedlock acquire their mother's citizenship.

The explanation on this site states, "If a marriage certificate does not exist, then it is necessary to prove that the father recognized his child within 1 year from the date of child's birth..."

polishcitizenship.pl/law/

There are only two possibilities with regard to your P Gramps.
1) They were legally married, but the certificate can't be found,
2) They were not legally married, but represented that they were.
In either case, your father must be a Polish citizen. In the first case, he would have taken Polish citizenship from his father. In the second case, he would have taken Polish citizenship from either his mother, or his father, if the father had legally recognized his son within one year. No other result is logically possible.

The 1951 citizenship law, Article 4 stripped Polish citizenship for people who "1)due to the borders change in the Polish State acquired citizenship of another country on the basis of the international agreement" as well as Germans, Russians, Ukrainains, Belarusians, Lithuanians, and Latvians now residing abroad. It makes no mention of Jews, and Zamosc stayed within Poland. That and the military paradox rule, (Polish Citizenship Statue of 1920 - Article 11) supports that Granpa M retained Polish citizenship after WWII.

Consult another lawyer.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
22 Feb 2017  #37

I found my great grandparents' (my paternal grandfather's parents) marriage records on jewishgen.org. They got married in Vilnius 16 years before my grandfather was born. I also found an internal passport record where the comments say "The German Passport ... was issued in Vilnius in 1916". There's another record indicating that my great grandfather worked in in Kaunas between 1927 and 1939. Do you think these records could be helpful?
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
22 Feb 2017  #38

I'm not sure what "legally recognized his son" means, but I'm pretty sure that my father's birth certificate lists my grandfather as his father and my grandmother as his mother.

I also have my uncle's Italian birth certificate but it only has has my grandmother's name on there.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
22 Feb 2017  #39

The documents that have the wrong dob make it very clear that my grandparents are married and that my uncle is their son. If only there was some way to correct my grandparents' dob in these documents...
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #40

Once someone dies, it becomes next to impossible to change a legal document pertaining to them. You can only explain the discrepancy. The issues are largely about documentary evidence, and the law that might apply under the circumstances. Your grandparents were "displaced people" from the war. (This was an official term.) They lived in a world before ID was computerized, and in the aftermath of the war they were given some freedom to reinvent themselves. They might have been married by a rabbi somewhere without a civil record, and then lived the rest of their lives proclaiming themselves married. Without a civil record of the marriage it may be considered unproved by a judge, unless some kind of common law marriage is recognized where they lived. If they had lived together as husband and wife, it makes a good case that your grandfather had recognized your father as his son. I don't know what exactly a Polish judge would decide, but this is the kind of problem that a good lawyer solves, since both parents were Polish citizens, thus the child must be a Polish citizen. The 1951 citizenship act spells this out more plainly, but it is the clear result from the 1920 Act as well. No other result is logically possible. Again, the President of Poland is your ace in the hole if you get an absurd result from the citizenship recognition petition. Laws in Poland can be complicated, but the Poles have a certain grandeur about things like this.

From memory, the Polish citizenship petition only asks about the great-grandparents as the parents of the grandparents. Their details usually aren't very relevant. Again, printing a document from the Internet won't be admissible evidence. You would need to get it from the relevant archive, with an official stamp and seal. It would need an apostille or other authentication for international use, if not Polish, with an official translation, etc. Since you only need your grandfather's birth certificate, why go to the added expense and trouble? The label of a "German passport" is misleading since it was only an internal document issued under German occupation. The problem of the missing marriage record would still remain, so focus on that problem.
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #41

You might also enquire about whether your grandparents had the ability to register a marriage in either Germany or Italy at the time from a historian. Both had been under military occupation during the war. If your grandparents had been deported to Germany as slaves to be starved and worked to death, what it was, what rights did they have there? Why would the Nazis have wasted the paper to record a marriage of people intended to die without children? A good lawyer good easily make this a human rights case under the historical circumstances. These were not normal times, it would be unreasonable for the law to act as if it were.
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #42

Reviewing the Fourth Geneva Convention, (even though it was enacted after the war), I would see if a lawyer might claim that the A.E.F. document is the registration of the marriage by an occupying power. You would need to explain that the DOB discrepancy was the result of lying to the Nazis to avoid extermination. It is a rather compelling explanation.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #43

"If they had lived together as husband and wife, it makes a good case that your grandfather had recognized your father as his son. I don't know what exactly a Polish judge would decide, but this is the kind of problem that a good lawyer solves, since both parents were Polish citizens, thus the child must be a Polish citizen. The 1951 citizenship act spells this out more plainly, but it is the clear result from the 1920 Act as well."

My father was born after 1951, which means that the act of 1951 was in effect when my dad was born right?

"They might have been married by a rabbi somewhere without a civil record, and then lived the rest of their lives proclaiming themselves married."
My grandparents joined the Jewish partisans at some point towards the end of the war. Do you think a partisan Rabbi could have married them? If so, do you think there's some way for me to get their marriage certificate?

"You would need to explain that the DOB discrepancy was the result of lying to the Nazis to avoid extermination. It is a rather compelling explanation."

I think that's why they lied about their DOB, but I'm not sure. It's also possible that the people who took down their information to issue their new ids when they arrived at the refugee camp miscopied their dob. Documents weren't computerized back then, so it's totally possible.
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #44

Yes, the 1951 would have been in force after it was enacted.

Chapter 2: Acquiring Polish citizenship
Art. 6
A child acquires Polish citizenship if:
1)both parents are Polish citizens or
2)one of the parents is a Polish citizen and the other parent is unknown or his/her citizenship is unknown or undefined

Sure, they could have been married by a rabbi. You might enquire with the Israeli government about such records, since I assume many of these people left for there. The A.E.F. might be the only record of the marriage. You might ask the court having jurisdiction over the archive to issue a certificate of the marriage. That might be possible, but under the circumstances. However, I don't believe that a marriage certificate is needed from your paternal grandparents for your citizenship petition. I have a very low opinion of the lawyer whom you have been consulting.

Most likely they lied to Nazis, and then those documents were copied at the refugee camp since they were the only documents that they had, and they were quite far from home.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #45

So if I want to claim Polish citizenship for my father based on both my grandparents, what additional documents do I need to get? I'm assuming that I need to obtain my grandmother's birth certificate and death certificate. Are there any other documents I need to get?
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #46

So, to claim Polish citizenship only through your father, you should request, at a minimum:
1) both of your paternal grandparents' birth certificates from the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego in Warsaw,
2) your father's birth certificate, (long form showing both parents),
3) an exemplary copy your parents' marriage certificate issued by a court for international use,
4) your birth certificate, (long form showing both parents).
I would also suggest getting a copy of the death certificate of the first one of your grandparents to pass on, listing the surviving spouse for good measure.

All non-Polish documents need authentication for international use from the home country, (usually this is an apostille under the Hague Convention). Then they must be translated in Poland by a court approved translator into Polish.

That should prove your claim. I don't see a marriage certificate as a requirement here.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #47

"1) both of your paternal grandparents' birth certificates from the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego in Warsaw,"
My family got my grandfather's birth certificate from Lithuania ("Lietvus Tarybu Socialine Respublika") in somewhere in the 1970s. It's in Lithuanian and Russian. Do you think this is good enough, or do I need to get another birth certificate from the "Urząd Stanu Cywilnego" in Warsaw because the one I have is from Lithuania?
delphiandomine 82 | 15,960    
23 Feb 2017  #48

You need the document from the Polish USC. The document issued by the LSSR is a complete fiction, though it was normal practice for those born in the territories conquered by the USSR to get such documents.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #49

Complete fiction? Does that mean that it's not legit? The problem is that the "Urząd Stanu Cywilnego" office requires everything to be in Polish. I'm finding it really hard to navigate their website because it's all in Polish and Google Translate doesn't seem to work very well. The only way for me to communicate with them is by email, because emailing them enables me to use google translate, but I it doesn't seem like they have an email address. Also, things often get lost in translation. Getting documents from the Lithuanian archives is so much easier because their website is in English and I can email them in English. Also how can I pay the "Urząd Stanu Cywilnego" for the records if I don't have a Polish bank account? I'm happy to pay them using Paypal, a credit card or a wire transfer but based on what you said they don't accept these forms of payment.
delphiandomine 82 | 15,960    
23 Feb 2017  #50

Does that mean that it's not legit?

Yep, it's essentially a historical curiosity, nothing more. If you asked the Lithuanians now to issue such a document, they would refuse to do it as he clearly wasn't born in Lithuania or occupied Lithuania.

About the USC - this is where you're better off having a good local representative to handle things on your behalf.
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #51

All non-Polish documents need authentication for international use from the home country, (usually this is an apostille under the Hague Convention). Then they must be translated in Poland by a court approved translator into Polish.

Please re-read the above.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that it might be possible to get a document from the now defunct Soviet Union authenticated somehow for international usage, you would still need to go to the added expense of having translated into Polish, possibly from two languages. Even if that were possible, it would still be cheaper to get the document in Warsaw, since the document which you receive will be accepted with your petition without any further authentication or translation. You can phone or FAX the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego office listed above about making payment. I would suggest contacting a Jewish organization or a Polish attorney about payment and handling the citizenship petition, which you must file in Warsaw. Things worth having don't come easily.

Your grandparents were born in historic Poland and were citizens the Second Polish Republic. They were part of 1000 years of Jewish history in Poland. You are their legacy, which is why Poland, not modern Lithuania, will welcome you back as a citizen. Respect and tolerance of Jews, and Tatar Muslims is Polish culture.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #52

The thing is that I can't call them because I don't speak Polish and they don't speak English. I don't have access to a fax machine either, so the only way for me to get in contact with them is to ask a lawyer to do it for me, which is probably going to cost more than getting Lithuanian records translated.

I really want to be a Polish citizen but the Polish government is making it so difficult. We've been working on this for 7-8 years and haven't even started the original process yet. Our lawyer has given up on us like a thousand times and we've practically had to beg her to continue working on our case.
mafketis 16 | 4,685    
23 Feb 2017  #53

The thing is that I can't call them because I don't speak Polish and they don't speak English

This is where the "local representative" comes into play. See delphi's links on Jewish organizations. Yours would hardly be the first such case and they may have contact info for reputable people who know the local system.

And if you really want Polish citizenship why don't you start (fairly intensive) study of the language? Not needing an interpreter could be very helpful at some stage.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #54

Waiting until I've learned enough of the language to be able to communicate with the "Urząd Stanu Cywilnego" is going to take waayyyy too long. We've already spent 8 years trying to get a Polish passport. This process is sooooo long and complicated.
mafketis 16 | 4,685    
23 Feb 2017  #55

his process is sooooo long and complicated.

That's every process in Poland.
OP amipolish8 1 | 24    
23 Feb 2017  #56

Really? :o didn't know...
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #57

Many Polish Jews never learned Polish historically. Poles in exile spoke French in the 19th century. Learning the language is very hard, and not required for citizens by birth.

You can write the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego in English by letter now. They will respond by letter in Polish. When I went there a few years back in person, I paid cash.

You will need to pay for the two birth records in the Warsaw Urząd Stanu Cywilnego, translation costs for all foreign documents needed for the petition, and the petition fee. It would be cheaper to make one international bank transfer to one agent to handle these, rather than multiple transfers. All correspondence from the Polish government will come in Polish, and you will need someone to translate for you. So finding a local representative makes sense.

No, they don't make the process easy. Understand that the Urząd Stanu Cywilnego in Warsaw is managed by the city of Warsaw, which is controlled by the opposition party to the ruling government.
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #58

The Polish mind requires complexity. In some places, they assume everyone is a idiot. In Poland, everyone is assumed to be a genius who can understand complex rules and laws.

This process is sooooo long and complicated.

delphiandomine 82 | 15,960    
23 Feb 2017  #59

We've already spent 8 years trying to get a Polish passport. This process is sooooo long and complicated.

You really need to get a better lawyer for a start. A competent, normal lawyer would procure all the relevant documents and apply for court rulings on your behalf, instead of telling you nonsense.

Stop being stubborn and contact the Jewish community in Warsaw. They will guide you better than we can, and they will almost certainly have contacts within the USC to be able to assist properly. They will be very familiar with the issue, and no doubt will be able to recommend specialists who understand historical issues.
Archive Dweller    
23 Feb 2017  #60

Please fire this lawyer, and find a competent agent in Warsaw. You might, however, consider suing this lawyer for malpractice. On the issue of Polish citizenship, she is clearly incompetent.

Our lawyer has given up on us like a thousand times and we've practically had to beg her to continue working on our case.





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