Baroness Julia Neuberger of West London Synagogue has said that she has applied for a German passport, and that she would “use it proudly”.
The senior Reform rabbi told The Guardian that although members of her mother’s family were killed or affected by the Holocaust, she was impressed by how Germany had dealt with its Nazi past. She also praised Chancellor Angela Merkel for providing safe haven for refugees.
Members of Neuberger’s mother’s family were transported to the Westerbork transit camp during the Holocaust, where they are presumed to have died, and the baroness admitted to feeling “pretty negative” about Germany for 50 years.
But although Neuberger explained that anti-Semitic comments on the Left of British politics had been a recent concern, she said: “My decision has nothing at all to do with anti-Semitism, but with my origins, my admiration for how today’s Germany has dealt with its past, and my sense of being European as well as British.”
She said she felt no less British for applying, saying: “I am a European as well as a proud Briton. I have many intersecting identities – as, I would argue, we all do. I’m British, a passionate monarchist, a Londoner, European, female, Jewish, with strong Irish connections – the list goes on.”
On Britain, she said: “This is my home, and I love my country – even when I’m critical of it… Assuming I am granted a German passport, I shall use it proudly.”
Up to 500 British Jews have applied for German and Austrian passports, with the German foreign ministry reporting a 20-fold increase in the number of applications since Britain voted to leave the European Union.