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Removal of citizenship due to leave to Israel - resolutions of Council of State No. 5/58 and 37/56

Pursuant to Art.11 sec.1 of the Act of January 8, 1951 on Polish Citizenship, a Polish citizen could acquire foreign citizenship with the effect of losing Polish citizenship, when he/she obtained a permit from a competent Polish authority to change his/her citizenship.The Council of State was competent to rule on permission to change citizenship (Article 13 sec. 1 of the Act).


On January 23, 1958, by Resolution No. 5/58, the Council of State allowed persons leaving for permanent residence in the State of Israel to change Polish citizenship. This resolution was a general act - it was not addressed to any specific person. In its point 1 it was stated: "it is allowed to change Polish citizenship to citizenship of the State of Israel for persons who have left or will leave the territory of the Polish People's Republic for permanent residence in the State of Israel and have submitted or will submit a request for permission to change Polish citizenship". Two years earlier - on May 16, 1956, an identical resolution was issued with regard to German repatriates (State Council Resolution No. 37/56).


Thus, the question arises: could an act of a general nature constitute a permit to change citizenship, leading to the loss of Polish citizenship? This issue was raised both by the Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court (judgment of the Supreme Court of September 17, 2001, ref.: III RN 56/01; judgments of the Supreme Administrative Court: of October 14, 2005, ref.: II OSK 267 / 05; of October 27, 2005, ref.: II OSK 1001/05; of October 27, 2005, ref: II OSK 965/05; of December 14, 2005, ref.: II OSK 1085 / 05; of August 29, 2007, ref.: II OSK1153 / 06). According to the dominant jurisprudence, the above-mentioned resolutions of the Council of State did not result in the loss of Polish citizenship, because "permission to change Polish citizenship as a premise for the loss of citizenship on the basis of art. February 1962 on Polish citizenship had to be an individual act of the Council of State addressed to a specific addressee, which was not replaced by a general resolution of the Council of State "(the justification of the judgment of the Supreme Court of September 17, 2001, ref.: III RN 56/01) . According to the courts, the provisions of that time did not authorize the State Council to issue a normative executive act to the act in the discussed scope.


There is one more, although much less popular, interpretation in the judicial and administrative judgments, according to which the loss of citizenship was determined by the moment of submitting the application for permission to change citizenship. In the case of people who submitted the application after the resolution was issued, there could be no question of losing citizenship (it is difficult to argue that the authority may decide on the application that has not yet been submitted). However, such automatism cannot be applied to entities that submitted applications earlier and for which an individual decision has not been issued. In the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court of 27 October 2005, ref.: II OSK 965/05, it was indicated that "one cannot a priori assume that Resolution No. 5/58 of the State Council (...) does not constitute a decision of the State Council, issued pursuant to Art. 13 sec. 1 of the Act of 8 January 1951 on Polish Citizenship in relation to persons who submitted a request for permission to change citizenship before adopting this resolution". However, as emphasized above, this view is rather an exception to the prevailing view.


Despite the extensive jurisprudence on the issue in question, it still happens that voivodeship offices refuse to confirm the possession of Polish citizenship due to the loss of citizenship by the applicant's ancestors as a result of resolutions of the Council of State No. 37/56 and 5/58. In such a situation, it is best to go to a professional attorney who will help you to appeal against the decision, and then possibly to appeal to the administrative court.

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