EWZ Questions and Answers
by Elli Wise
Originally published in the Heritage Review, December 2007
EWZ Index listings are now included in the Black Sea German database.
The EWZ microfilms contain several different types of application processing forms for German citizenship during the years 1939 through early 1945. EWZ records are the only information we have available on many families during the WWII era. Without these records, we may never have known what happened to these families.
EWZ stands for Einwanderungszentralstelle or Central Immigration Control Department. All ethnic Germans resettling from countries in Eastern Europe back to Germany were required to fill out a number of forms. Those who were age 14 or over were required to bring all available certificates (Russian passports, Ukrainian IDs, IDs of German origin such as a Volkslist, birth, baptism and marriage records). They were also required to write their Lebenslauf (life story) in either German or Russian. The following information was filled in: surname, first name, birth date, birth place, last place of residence, name of parents, name of children, their birth and death dates. There was also a section for the Lebenslauf to be written on. They brought these filled-out forms and all other documents on the Stichtag, the effective day, for the Durchschleusung, when their forms were processed for them to return to Germany.
The EWZ 50 and 51 series contain a form called a Stammblatt (a pedigree or family group chart) and can reflect three or four generations depending on the memory of the applicant. The Stammblatt gives the father and mother, parents of both, grandparents of both and the children. Usually the grandparents do not have birth dates, and in some cases neither do parents or spouses.
The Stammblatt for one spouse may show data not included on the other spouse’s Stammblatt. In addition you may find a Stammblatt on the parents, even grandparents or the children. This widens the scope of the data and it is possible to find information with birth dates going back to the 1800s.
EWZs may also contain a Personalblatt, which provides similar information to a Stammblatt. The form indicates the status of single, married, widowed, etc. with dates, if known. The researcher can find information whether the person was living, deceased, shot, verschleppt (taken away), verbannt (banished), missing, serving as a soldier, last place of residence, etc. They are typed and easy to read—one does not need to know the German language fluently.
Yes, the Feststellung der Deutschstämmigkeit (determination of German origin) is a form with a family tree that shows ancestry (no dates) and whether the person is ethnic German or of mixed nationality (mostly found in the EWZ 50 series). Other forms are health records, a description of the person (in the EWZ 57 series), history of places they lived, their belongings, social status, etc. In a lot of instances you may find photographs of individuals. You may also find citizenship application forms called Einbuergerungsanträge or a copy of a citizenship certificate called the Abschrift der Einbürgerungsurkunde, the Lebenslauf, Hitler Jugend Umsiedler Personalkarte (Hitler Youth resettler passport), Volkstums Ausweis (Russian, Rumanian or German passports), and other correspondence. Most forms do have dates as to when they were processed, may give new ID numbers, old EWZ numbers , and may indicate to which Herd (head of household) a person belongs.
The citizenship certificate for a family will show birth dates, birth places and current residence of the head of household. It only shows the wife’s maiden name, but no birth date unless the certificate is issued to a widow. It does show the children’s birth dates and birthplaces. For a single person’s certificate the information is date of birth, birth place and current residence.
The citizenship certificate reflects the EWZ number of the individual or the Herdvorstand (head of household). The EWZ number is found on bottom left corner under “Tgb. Nr.” (it may have /I or /II added like 222222/I or 222222/II). The EWZ number becomes important when checking into some files such as the EWZ 58 series.
No, not in all cases. It is possible that citizenship was refused, that particular document was not among the collected documents, or the person had died, was taken away, banished or even may have chosen to remain in Russia.
Are the EWZ records focused on a specific region, such as the Odessa region, or do they cover all of South Russia?
Each series focuses on a different area.
· The 50 series mainly covers Russia, Odessa and Crimea regions. Series is compiled in alphabetic order by surname.
· The 51 series covers Russia, Bukovina, Bessarabia and the Dobrudscha regions. Series is compiled in alphabetic order by surname.
· The 52 series covers ethnic Germans within Poland.
· The 53 series covers the Baltic countries for ethnic Germans.
· Other series cover Yugoslavia (541), France (542), Bulgaria (543) and Süd Tirol (545).
· The 57 series contains index cards (emigration and health) and covers various regions.
· The 58 series contains family group sheets and covers various regions. Series is compiled and grouped by EWZ number.
Are the EWZ microfilms available at the LDS Family History Library?The 57 and 58 series are both held at the LDS library. Other than the films held by GRHS, the other series are available only through NARA (the National Archives in Washington D.C.)
What is the cost to purchase a EWZ film and where can I purchase these?Currently, an EWZ microfilm costs $125 but to obtain the most up-to-date price please go to: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/microfilm-pubs.html#cost. They can be purchased through NARA.
Will I be able to read EWZ records? What language are they in?Most forms are typed and are easy to read. Although the language is German, the names, dates, and places are the same as in English. The Lebenslauf is written in script by the applicant.
The purpose of indexing these EWZ records is to lead the researcher to the films and frames or to a certain individual. Data can be found more readily without having to reel through the entire sets of films. Also, various family members can appear on various films and the indexes can quickly point to that.
The indexes will save time for the researcher seeking lost or missing relatives. Also, the index can result in finding family information that otherwise may not be available elsewhere, but a researcher using an EWZ index must go to the actual record to find the detailed information.
The index does not reveal if any of these persons actually gained German citizenship, or had been taken away, were sent to Siberia, were deceased, were widowed, married, single, and so on. Most of such information can be found within the forms on the films. These EWZ files can bring families together, especially for those who did not come to America at the same time their relatives did. For those who have relatives in Germany who were separated, these records may provide clues to find each other. Though not everyone will gain from these records, those who are lucky to find their relatives' names included, will certainly be able to fill gaps within their family research.
Our criteria for this indexing project has been to only include persons for whom a birth date is given. Surnames and, if married, the maiden name will be found in the remarks section. All persons who have birth dates will appear in these indexes. In most cases, a place of birth is given as well. You find the film number and frame number for easy reference. The indexes represent a source only and one does need to go to the record itself to find additional information.
The EWZ series cover only the era during the re-settlement. The DAI (Deutsches Ausland Institut or German Institute of Foreign Countries) series contain records collected during the entire emigration span (late 1700’s through WWII). A large number of the DAI records were collected by Dr. Karl Stumpp during WWII.
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