A British woman who has been living in Germany for 43 years has offered to help to British Jews apply for German citizenship but who do not speak the language.
Veronica Maguire, 64, from Glasgow, offered the free interpretation and translation work this week after watching a “very moving” BBC documentary showing British Jews applying for German passports in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
Maguire, who still works full-time as an English teacher, is also applying for a German passport, and said she would like to help “a few people at a time” for free, whether translating English to German or German to English.
Speaking to Jewish News this week, she said she was not Jewish but had “a lifelong interest in Jews and their history, in particular the Holocaust… The horror I felt when first reading novels about it when I was 14 has never left me”.
She added: “My impulse to help the British Jews regain a German passport more than 72 years after World War Two is rooted in compassion and empathy. When I first came here, I learnt at first-hand what it’s like to be an ‘alien’ in this country, especially one who doesn’t speak the language yet.”
Since Britain voted to leave the European Union last year, thousands have applied for dual nationality, with about 400 British Jews, including Baroness Julia Neuberger, applying for German nationality. But to some this has posed a moral dilemma, with the scars of the Holocaust not yet faded.