My father fled the Nazis. He would be dev­as­tated by this

Fam­ily re­veal an­guish over EU exit as Prime Min­is­ter bat­tles to win sup­port be­fore crunch in the Com­mons

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS -

The fam­ily of a man who fled the Nazis have told how they have be­come Ger­man cit­i­zens again – in or­der to re­main in the Euro­pean Union.

Bob Leiser’s father Ge­org was sent to Bri­tain in 1934 – the year af­ter Adolf Hitler came to power – as the Nazi’s stepped up their at­tacks on Ger­many’s Jews.

Ge­org’s brother and sis­ter fol­lowed and his par­ents fi­nally man­aged to leave in the sum­mer of 1938.

Now, 84 years later, the Leiser fam­ily are Ger­man once again as Bri­tain lurches to­wards Brexit.

Bob, 60, from Manse­wood, Glas­gow, said: “When my father and his fam­ily fled Nazi per­se­cu­tion they would never have dreamt the fam­ily would be join­ing the queue to be­come Ger­mans again.

“It’s purely spir­i­tual but with Brexit hap­pen­ing, we all ap­plied for Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship.

“I voted to re­main in the EU be­cause I know the value of unity in Europe,

“My father would be dev­as­tated with Brexit if he was still alive to­day. Have we learned noth­ing from his­tory?”

Bob, his daugh­ter Ruth and son Ja­cob all went through the lengthy ap­pli­ca­tion process to be­come Ger­man cit­i­zens, and have now re­ceived their Ger­man pass­ports.

They con­tinue to be Bri­tish cit­i­zens as well and have no plans to leave this coun­try.

Bob told how his father was able to come to Bri­tain be­cause they fam­ily had a rel­a­tive liv­ing near Lon­don who spon­sored his ap­pli­ca­tion.

“He only got into Bri­tain, at the age of 14, be­cause he had a cousin who could sup­port him.

“My grand­fa­ther, Ge­org, said at the time he thought it would be good for him to be ed­u­cated here but in re­al­ity the fam­ily were be­ing per­se­cuted be­cause they were Jewish.

“My father never spoke much about what he had to en­dure, un­til he was older.

“It was then I learned how ter­ri­ble life be­came for Jews in Ger­many.

“He re­vealed that his teacher had hu­mil­i­ated him at school for be­ing Jewish.

“Class­mates were en­cour­aged to join the

Hitler Youth Move­ment and hate Jews.”

Ge­org’s sis­ter Hanne and brother Ernest, fol­lowed two or three years later.

His par­ents, Ge­org and Pauline, only man­aged to leave Ger­many in the sum­mer of 1938, just months be­fore Kristall­nacht, when para­mil­i­tary mobs mur­dered scores of Jews.

Homes and shops were smashed and ar­rests and trans­porta­tions to con­cen­tra­tion camps be­gan in earnest.

Bob’s grand­fa­ther Ge­org was a doc­tor in Ber­lin and had been dec­o­rated for his ser­vice in the Ger­man army in the First World War.

Their fam­ily hol­i­day

home had been smashed up by Nazi neigh­bours and a friend warned them not to re­turn.

Dur­ing the war, Ge­org was sent to in­tern­ment in Aus­tralia, like many other Ger­man im­mi­grants.

Bob said: “He vol­un­teered to join the Pi­o­neer Corps, fear­ing that if he was cap­tured in the bat­tle­field in Europe he would be shot on the spot when the Ger­mans found out he was Jewish and Ger­man.”

The fam­ily later came to Scot­land where Ge­org got a job with an in­dus­trial com­pany in Dun­fermline.

“They opened a fac­tory in Fife and dad man­aged it,” said Bob

Bob’s grand­mother was not Jewish and with the reli­gion fol­low­ing the ma­ter­nal line, the fam­ily are not of­fi­cially Jewish.

But Ger­man law says that any­one who lost their cit­i­zen­ship be­tween 1933 and 1945 on racial, re­li­gious, or po­lit­i­cal grounds can have it re­stored, as can their de­scen­dants.

The Leis­ers got their Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship re­stored af­ter find­ing fam­ily doc­u­ments go­ing back to Bob’s great-grand­par­ents.

The Leis­ers are just one fam­ily to ap­ply to re­store their Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship, but thou­sands more have done the same since Brexit.

Be­fore the Brexit vote, about 28 peo­ple a year ap­plied to be­come Ger­man again.

But since the vote, 3,481 Brits have ap­plied to be­come Ger­man cit­i­zens.

Bob Leiser with his chil­dren Ruth and Ja­cob

Bob’s dad, Ge­org, in­set af­ter join­ing Bri­tish Army, and with his sib­lings re­united in Bri­tain in 1938 af­ter flee­ing Ger­many. Now Bob is to get a Ger­man pass­port

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