No, you can’t be a German citizen, you’re too left-wing
Published Date: 25 February 2010
By Stephen McGinty and Allan Hall in Berlin
THE daughter of a former Scots soldier has been refused German citizenship because the government has declared her to be “too left-wing”.
Jannine Menger-Hamilton, 29, grew up in Germany as the daughter of a Scottish army father and an Italian mother, which gave her dual British and Italian citizenship.
However, two years ago, and after marrying a fellow German, she applied to become a citizen of the country in which she has lived since birth.
Yet as she acts as spokeswoman for the Left Party, the country’s most left-wing political party, which was formed from the rump of the old Socialist bloc in former East Germany, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is understood to have ruled that she is “not suitable” for a passport.
Although passport requests usually take three to six months to process, Ms Menger-Hamilton has still not received official confirmation or rejection after almost three years.
Last night her father, Thomas Hamilton, 58, who is originally from Stranraer and who left the army many years ago and now works for an American company, said he was disappointed that his daughter was being treated so unfairly. “She is bright, attractive, works hard and pays her taxes, and in any other country they would be delighted to welcome her in. Yet because this area is controlled by a conservative party, they are blocking her. She wants to further her political career in Germany.”
The Left Party is the fourth biggest political party in Germany, with 76 MPs in parliament and strongly represented in the EU. It is also under permanent surveillance by the country’s intelligence agencies in certain regions, in case any of its members have links to terrorists.
Mrs Menger-Hamilton used to belong to the more mainstream Social Democratic Party (SPD), but left it when she became disillusioned with its welfare reform programme and other policies. She was not alone, however, as hundreds of thousands of people also left the party, many of them finding sanctuary with her with the Left Party.
Yesterday, a German newspaper reported her case and said: “Officials believe a German passport for Hamilton would endanger the constitutional order.”
When Mrs Menger-Hamilton had not received her passport after two years she asked to see her official records and found numerous letters from Germany’s domestic security agency stating that she was too political.
“I am utterly perplexed,” said Mrs Menger-Hamilton, who has never been in trouble with the law, has never supported terrorist activity and has lived in Germany her whole life. “It sounds pathetic, but it hurt me to be rejected.” Yet she is determined to fight on. She said: “In the state of Brandenburg, the Left Party is in government. Are they all a threat to the German way of things too?”
Last night a spokesman for the German embassy in London said: “Mrs Menger-Hamilton’s application is still being processed by the federal state of Lower Saxony. We cannot comment on ongoing cases at federal state level.”
Meanwhile, neo-nazis, originally from Russia or other countries, including at least one racist murderer, have managed to obtain German passports. How many nazis have managed to get what Ms Menger-Hamilton did not get, in Lower Saxony or elsewhere?