Still German: the case of Aussiedler and the framing of German national identity through citizenship in periods of transition, 1945-1955 and 1989-2000




Murray, Galen

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Traditionally, German citizenship has been viewed as one that embraces a common culture and heritage. The attributes of this culture and heritage are closely associated with the national identity of Germany. However, this national identity has been challenged, both through the tumultuous events of Germany’s twentieth century as well as the allegations that the basis for German citizenship is exclusionary and contributes to a racist understanding of German national identity. This thesis investigates such allegations through a particular category of citizenship, Aussiedler, those who were considered German based upon their lineage and upholding of German culture and tradition, although they lived in Central and Eastern Europe, sometimes for generations. By analyzing Aussiedler from the context of its creation as a category in the aftermath of the Nazi dictatorship through to its modifications following the end of the Cold War the fluid nature of German national identity is traced through a shifting citizenship policy.



Germany, Aussiedler, citizenship, national identity, West Germany, Bundesvertriebenen- und Flüchtlingsgesetz, post-war