In ‘A Place They Called Home,’ Donna Swarthout explores the experiences of Jews reclaiming their German citizenship

After WWII, Germany’s Basic Law was adopted to allow displaced German Jews & their descendants restored citizenship. We speak to Donna Swarthout, editor of the book “A Place They Called Home,” about her experience reconnecting with her German heritage.

Photo by Sylvia Cunningham



When American Donna Swarthout first moved to Germany in 2010, she kept a blog called “Full Circle.” It’s where she documented her experiences with her husband and children as “a German American Jewish family in Berlin.”

Photo from the book launch for “A Place They Called Home,” featuring contributors and Donna Swarthout (second from the left). Photo by Eva Schweitzer.

Swarthout and her family reclaimed their German citizenship under Article 116 of Germany’s Basic Law, adopted after World War II. The provision allows former German citizens who were stripped of their citizenship between 1933 and 1945 on “political, racial, or religious grounds,” and their descendants, to apply for it to be restored.

We speak to Swarthout about her newly published book, “A Place They Called Home: Reclaiming Citizenship. Stories of a New Jewish Return to Germany,” a compilation of essays by 12 different writers exploring the experiences of reconnecting with their German-Jewish heritage.

Read Yermi Brenner’s essay “My Grandma, the Holocaust ‘Celebrity'”, from “A Place They Called Home” on Omnified. 

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