ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An 85-year-old Minneapolis man has renewed his ties to his motherland by reclaiming his German citizenship eight decades after it was stripped from him by Nazis.
Fred Amram was recently re-naturalized by the German consul general during a ceremony at the Germanic-American Institute in St. Paul, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported . Amram is a retired University of Minnesota professor, inventor and published author.
"I'm thinking of it in terms of the world, and that this is an opportunity for people to ... talk about the refugee situation in the modern world, and to think about genocide," he said.
Amram was 2 years old when the Nazi Party passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which deprived Jewish people of their citizenship. His family fled their home in Hanover in 1939. They were later granted U.S. citizenship after moving to New York City.
"We escaped with nothing, literally," he said.
The Holocaust continued until 1945 and killed an estimated 6 million Jewish people.
Germany began offering re-naturalization in 1949. Amram didn't learn about the re-naturalization option until 2016. He said he decided to do it so his family could also become German citizens and to draw attention to refugee issues.
"I'm excited about the concept that the German government is finding ways to say, 'We're sorry,' " he said. "On the other hand, I'm very sad when I think about all of the other people in the world, the other children in the world ... who have no citizenship, who are refugees."
Amram said he plans to use his re-naturalization to discuss refugees and statelessness.
"I had been committed to works that help people who don't have equal opportunity, probably at least in part ... because of my own growing up as an outsider," Amram said.