Citizenship of children in the context of the provisions of the Act of 20 January 1920 on the citizenship of the Polish State and the Vienna Convention on citizenship and options of 30 August 1924.
Determining the citizenship of people under the age of 18 sometimes requires referring de facto to four legal acts in force in the interwar period. These are: the Act of January 20, 1920 on the Citizenship of the Polish State (Journal of Laws No. 7, item 44, as amended) - hereinafter referred to as the "Act", the Vienna Convention on Citizenship and Options of August 30, 1924 concluded between Poland and Germany (Journal of Laws of 1925, No. 21, item 148) - hereinafter the "Convention", and the Versailles regulations in the form of the Treaty between the Main Allied and Associated Powers and Poland of June 28, 1919 ( Journal of Laws of 1920, No. 110, item 728) - hereinafter referred to as the "Treaty", and also the Treaty between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany (Journal of Laws of 1920, No. 35, item 200, as amended ) dated on the same date.
Essential in the context of the issues outlined above all seems to be Art. 8 par. 2 of the Convention, according to which German citizens who were under the age of 18 on January 10, 1920, share the citizenship of their father, if they are married children, and of their mother, if they are illegitimate children. However, the legislator added a reservation to the above regulation, stating that if the same persons meet the conditions required by Article 4 of the Treaty of June 28, 1919, then, subject to the provisions of Article 7, paragraph 1, second paragraph of this Convention, acquired Polish citizenship, even if their father or mother did not meet the conditions required to acquire Polish citizenship.
In order to clarify the normative context, it is worth noting that the above-mentioned the provision was in the form of a provision referring to another normative act (ie the Treaty), Art. 4 provided that Poland recognizes as Polish citizens by law and without any formalities persons of German, Austrian, Hungarian or Russian affiliation, born in the said territory of parents permanently residing there, even when this Treaty came into force, they themselves did not have permanent residence there.
An internal reference was the simultaneous reference to Art. 8 par. 2 of the Convention to Art. 7 par. 1 clause 2 of the same act, according to which those German citizens whose parents both established their residence within this territory after January 1, 1908, did not acquire Polish citizenship.
Trying to create a legal norm from the above-cited provisions, it should be considered that the basic assumption of the legislator was to grant German citizens underage on January 10, 1920, respectively, the citizenship of their father or mother, depending on whether their birth took place as a result of the parents' marriage. . However, the legislator made an exception to this general principle, according to which, irrespective of the above-mentioned criterion, Polish citizenship was acquired by persons of German nationality born on the territory of Poland, whose parents permanently resided there (but not after January 1, 1908).
Moving now to the Polish Act of 1920, it should be concluded that Art. 5 deals with the situation of underage citizens in a very similar way to Art. 8 par. 2 of the Convention analyzed above. According to the act, by birth, married children acquire the father's citizenship, and illegitimate children acquire their mother's citizenship. However, contrary to the regulation contained in the Convention, Art. 5 of the Act does not have any negative grounds for acquiring citizenship.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning the status of minor orphans in the legal acts analyzed above. In one of the judgments of the Supreme Administrative Court with regard to the provisions of the Convention, there is a thesis that the decisions on the citizenship of persons who were under 18 on January 10, 1920, contained in the first sentence of par. 2 Art. 8 of the Vienna Convention, do not apply to cases in which the father or mother of these persons were dead on January 10, 1920 (December 18, 1929, I reg. 483128; P. P. A., 1930, second quarter, p. 24). Therefore, we are dealing here with another subjective exclusion with regard to the citizenship of minor former German citizens of Upper Silesia.
The Act of 1920 also does not deal directly with the legal status of underage orphans. Interpretations in this aspect are also provided by the jurisprudence of administrative courts. A relatively relevant ruling seems to be, for example, the judgment of the modern Supreme Administrative Court of October 19, 2021, reference number II OSK 65/21, according to which orphans are not protected from the loss of citizenship under the Act of 1920 by the statute of the deceased father, but may lose them. as a result of naturalization individually..