Hi r/Judaism! I want to thank you all for your support in my original post about this. I went to the naturalization ceremony at the General Consul’s residence (on Park Ave, which was crazy) truly because of the support and encouragement I received from you guys. I am so glad I went. I somehow managed to freak out and cry before we left, so I kept it together once we got there. I consider that a win!
I want to make mention that there was very little information given on this ceremony. There was no info on food, bringing guests, or a schedule of events.
Story time: my husband and I get to Park Ave and I immediately see other Jews with kippahs on right outside the building. I felt relieved and we went into the lobby. We were greeted warmly in the lobby by a man with a clipboard who asked if we were there for the naturalization ceremony. We went up in the elevator which opened directly into a huge residence. We showed our license or IDs to a woman at a table and then were escorted into a vast bougie living room with big windows. We were given orange juice or coke. It became clear that the whole group was German Jews and this was a ceremony specific to us. I walked over to the men wearing kippahs and introduced myself and gave high fives.
A piano player started to play Mack the Knife and he was accompanied by a trombone player. I got choked up and pulled it together. The Consulate General then gave a very beautiful speech about righting the wrongs of the past and thanking us for giving Germany to opportunity to have us back as citizens. He said we always should have been citizens all along. He then called us up one by one and handed us our naturalization form and took photos with us in front of the German, US and EU flags.
His wife very warmly introduced herself to my husband and I, however, she only told me her first name. I truly didn’t know who she was except that she looked great and definitely fit the surroundings! After the presentation, she and her husband made a point to speak to all of us and ask about our family histories. Champagne and kosher snacks were served.
There was also a photographer who walked around taking candid shots, which I found a little awkward. I later received an email from the embassy with these pictures, which I thought was very kind.
We made our way to the exit and I was approached by a PR member of the embassy staff. I am descended from a famous family in Germany, and they had had no idea (despite the Consulate General saying that he had read all of our bios, haha). They asked me for an interview in the future, and I took the opportunity to explain to them that in the future, they need to make this process more transparent. I told them that going to the embassy by myself was very scary and if they had had a Jewish staff member there to welcome me, it would have made a world of difference. She did tell me that they have a staff member like that and she will bring it up. She made me feel heard and appreciated.
Overall a good experience! One of the people at my ceremony set up a facebook group for German Jews applying for Article 116 naturalization if any of you would be interested. Happy to post it in the comments if there is interest. Please feel free to ask me any questions, I want to support other Jews in this process.
I also applied for my German passport! I can do a separate post on that, but it was pretty straightforward.
submitted by /u/NimbexWaitress