"Captured German Records" a GRHS Clearing House Project

(by Dale Lee Wahl)

This is a very difficult subject to discuss and make understandable but we shall attempt to help you gain some insight into the subject and the efforts/projects in the regards to these records we have underway at the GRHS.

Let us first try to gain as much common visibility as we can by reviewing some of the things available to you.

Please take some time and review the following links:

Now, if you really want to get down to the rudimentary level of knowledge to be able to really get into this subject  --  go to Adam Giesinger's great book, "from Catherine to Khrushchev, The Story of Russia's Germans", chapter 16 on page 299.  You may have to read this chapter two or three times to really sort out the sequence of events as they relate to your specific interest areas of our German Russian communities, but this is basic knowledge one should gain before trying to move on.

Now if you have prepared yourself, you should be able to begin expanding your insight into this vast subject.

Before we get too deeply into the technical aspects of this subject, let us share with you a little of the history.

Before and during the war (World War Two) the Germans had organized into many entities, with often overlapping functions and authority.    While we will not be able to get too deeply into this organizational understanding, we will have to gain a little insight and also understand a few of the key people who were involved in the records that we are interested in because of our focus on "German-Russian" history and records.

Leibbrandt & Stumpp

Dr. Georg Leibbrandt had a title that sometimes looked like this; "Ministerialdirigent, MSDAP Oberbereichsleiter, Chief of Main Political Department in Reich Ministry for Occupied Eastern Territories, Chief of Division for Occupied Eastern Territories in NSDAP Foreign Policy Office."  For more information see the Leibbrandt document.

We have gained copy of some of the summary data from the Nuremberg records concerning the testimony of Dr. Georg Leibbrandt and will include that data at the end of this material so you will be able to review his own testimony about his personal history during the war [still a work in process].

One of the people who worked for Leibbrandt during this period was Dr. Karl Stumpp whom most of us immediately recognize.

(For those interested, Leibbrandt's direct Russian village is tied to Hoffnungstal and Hoffnungsfeld in Odessa while Stumpp's families are tied to Alexanderhilf in Odessa.)

Some of the work that Dr. Karl Stumpp was involved with has resulted in his great work titled, "The Emigration from Germany to Russia in the Years 1763 to 1862".  We have two of his other works in the Odessa library for your use; please see:

DAI – T81 Films

Please proceed to our background data now, on the DAI T-81 films and the subject of EWZ records.  (as a whole most of this data had been used in this edited form, with permission, from the GRHS VC Newsletter.)

Deutsches Ausland-Institut (DAI)

Many of us have poked around the sides and corners of the subject often referred to as "captured German records".

We have heard about “Guides”, “finding aids”, EWZ, DAI, Stumpp records, and who knows what else.

You will find further information in a later part of this page concerning the EWZ, and here we would like to focus on the DAI collection.

The "DAI" records are found in "Publication T81".  However as you can note  --  not all of T81 is DAI, only part of it.

Publication T-81 is described in "Guides" Nos. 3, 16, 20, 21, 35 and 77.  These guides are now out of print and available only on rolls of National Archives Microfilm Publication T733.

The "T-81" Guides to German Records Microfilmed at Alexandria, Va. (Washington: National Archives and Records Service) as follows;

These guides have been procured by one of our team members for T-81, which are on T-733 reels 1, 2 and 7.  These 3 films are intended to eventually end up in our collection in our film library in Bismarck.  (There are currently nine films reflecting a total of 88 "guides".)

The Guides to German Records Microfilmed at Alexandria, Va. constitute a series of finding aids to the National Archives and Records Service (NARS) microfilms of seized records of German central, regional,, and local government agencies and of military commands and units, as well as of the Nazi Party, its component formations, affiliated associations, and supervised organizations.

At the GRHS we have a Clearing House project underway as a back-burner endeavor to gain copies of some of the key records/films in this DAI Collection, and to index and translate some of the more significant data.

We have some folks who have been teaming up to procure copies of some of the key films in the DAI collection.  Many so far brought in contain Stumpp data that was collected before and during WW II.

The key folks so far involved in the choosing and buying of these films to support this project are of a Bessarabian common ancestry.  It is for that reason that most of the films being procured have some Bessarabian data included.  HOWEVER, great volumes of data on the other GR areas are also being included in the efforts . . . . for a sampling of some of the data so far processed, go to Elli's Korner and check out the DAI indices.

The goal of the project is to index what we can, and translate other data - all into English - and place our GRHS web site.  The films, hopefully, will be added to the film inventory of GRHS in Bismarck so researchers will have a common place to go to gain copies of key data to support their research.

We have a funds holder who has volunteered to support this effort (so we can  continue to buy more films).  We now have a Project Coordinator who will keep  track of who is doing what - and coordinate getting the data sent towards the  GRHS web site for posting.  Some of the key information if adequate in content  and quality will surely be submitted to GRHS for use in the Heritage Review -  of course this will all be coordinated with the translator themselves.

The ideal situation will be for the translators to primarily work on villages of their own ancestry.  While it is certain this would not be a 100% thing we can do, we should strive in that direction.

If you would like to be involved in this great effort, please contact .  We can use a little money in the pot, but don't need much at this time as the picking of the films goes slowly and carefully.  If you would like to be involved in translating or indexing, please contact Dale and we will get you hooked up with the right folks.

The goal of these DAI efforts is to (1) index data, (2) translate what can be translated, (3) share the products of 1 and 2 in the GRHS web pages, (4) and add to the film collections of GRHS.

We have great hopes that we can keep this backburner project alive and making forward movement over the coming years, by finding adequate funds to add to the films the GRHS holds in their collection and volunteers willing to work the indexing and translation projects.

If you have or know of anyone holding copies of any of these films they would like to donate to the film collection, please get hold of the folks at headquarters to see if they have a copy yet.  AND of course if you are going to operate on your own and desire to coordinate your efforts with the GRHS Clearing House, please contact the person on the Clearing House List or Dale Lee Wahl.

EWZ Collections

Antrage

The EWZ Antrage (applications) consist of more than 400,000 applications by ethnic Germans to the EWZ for naturalized German citizenship, 1939-45.  They are arranged by country or region and there under alphabetically by family name. Each application might include several forms and other documents already described in other EWZ series, together with additional correspondence.   The applications represent only a small part of the total number of ethnic Germans considered for naturalization, during World War II.

The Antrage for each region or country constitute a separate series of BDC Accessioned Microfilm A3342, thereunder organized into successive alpha-numeric sequences that reproduce the alphabetical arrangement of applicants for that country or region.  The seven series (totaling 3,210 16mm. rolls) and subordinate roll sequences are as follows:

Each file within these series might contain some or all of the following documents:  Identity papers that establish an applicant's ethnic German background (Volkstumsausweis) or resettler status (Umsiedlerausweis); a "family form" (Stammblatt) that identifies the ethnic backgrounds of an applicant's parents, spouse, and children; a naturalization application form (Einbürgerungsantrag) ; a declaration of naturalization (Einbürgerungsverfügung, usually abbreviated Vfg.) ; a copy of the naturalization certificate (Abschrift der Einbürgerungsurkunde); and related correspondence.

The extent and format of records for each country or region may vary considerably. Application files for ethnic Germans from France, for example, contain the most extensive documentation of any series.  In contrast, application files from Poland and Yugoslavia appear more routine and less detailed in documentation.

EWZ-Korrespondenz

The EWZ-Korrespondenz constitutes correspondence pertaining to individual ethnic German applicants for naturalization recovered or collected by the BDC. The correspondence consists of two main series, each arranged alphabetically by surname, and two fragmentary collections pertaining only to specialized categories of immigrants.  The records were originated by the EWZ and such affiliated organizations as the RKFDV, VoMi, and Beratungsstellen fur Einwanderer (BfE) immigrant counseling offices (located throughout Germany) involved in processing immigrants, 1939-44.  The nature and extant of the correspondence varies greatly for each individual. Although the correspondence relates to thousands of ethnic German applicants, these represent only a fraction of the total numbers involved.

The EWZ-Korrespondenz is reproduced on 296 rolls of 16 mm rolls of BDC Accessioned Microfilm A3342 as series EWZ 59. The rolls are not numbered in a single sequence, but in two successive alphanumeric sequences: Rolls G001 - G242, general correspondence on all issues, arranged alphabetically by surname (A - Ve); and rolls V001 - V054, correspondence pertaining mostly to resettlement questions, also arranged alphabetically by surname (B - Schi).  On rolls G001 - G242, the arrangement of surnames beginning with the letters "Sch" through "Z" is very general and many names are filmed out of sequence; retakes of individuals' correspondence are scattered throughout the series. A sample of a consolidated roll list follows this description.

The correspondence in both series covers a wide range of documentation, sometimes dealing in depth with specific resettlement issues, in other cases providing no more substantive information than a passing reference to the name of an immigrant.  Included are notations of locations or transfers of individual within temporary camps;  letters exchanged between immigrants and competent Reich authorities on resettlement status; requests and grants of properties or businesses in areas designated for resettlement; reports on conditions in specific immigrant camps (arranged by surname of the Reich official who prepared each report); compensation claims for property lost or confiscated by Polish or Soviet authorities; and autobiographical summaries prepared by individuals, particularly useful for descriptions of ethnic German life in the USSR, Poland, and other eastern European countries during the interwar and early war years.

In addition to ethnic German immigrants, individuals documented in the two series of Korrespondenz also include Reich Germans applying for land or properties in the occupied eastern areas; non-ethnic German nationals of eastern nationalities (especially the Baltic states) living or working in Germany and applying for German citizenship; and Reich officials involved in the naturalization and resettlement process.  The individuals who appear on rolls G001-G242 are delineated by folder covers that bear their names and birthdates; no clear delineations separate individual files reproduced on rolls V001-V054. The names in the two series appear to supplement each other, but the possibility of duplication cannot be excluded. Many documents in both series are handwritten.

SAMPLE ROLL LIST, SERIES EWZ-KORRESPONDENZ (ROLLS G001 - G242)

G001:   Abandowitz, Alois - Atzroth, Erich G002:   Atz, Heinrich - Bayer, Therese G003:   Beyer, Wladislaus - Blatter, Ott G004:   Blau, Georg - Bottcher, Friedrich G005:   Bottcher, Gustav - Bouchat, Maria G006:   Boudin, Anna - Brenner, Philipp G007:   Brensy, Johann - Btibilitsch, Michael G008:   Bublik, Peter - Bulla, Martha G009:   Bulle, Kurt - Buzug, Adam G010:   Buzug, Anton - Chudzinski, Karl G011:   Chudzinski, Katharina - Cygon, Marie G012:   Cyhaniuk, Josef - Dalke, Christian G013:   Dalke.,j Gottlieb - Deak, Anna G014:   Deak, Francis - Diatschuk, Michael G015:   Diazuk, Michael - Dmytrtik, Johanna G016:   Dmytruk, Johann - von Donimirski, Helene G017:   Donis, Christian - Dreyersdorff, Marie G018:   Dreymann, Edwin - Dulger, Sacharia G019:   Dulian, Josef - Eckert, Maria G020:   Eckert, Marie - Endrulat, Heinrich G021:   Endrulat, Johann - Erhardt, Anna G022:   Erhardt, Elisabeth - Ettenhoffer, Norbert G023:   Ettenhofferj Wilhelm - Faulstich, Sidonia G024:   Faure, Berta - Feofanov, Anna G025:   Feofanov, Alexei - Firckser, Paul G026:   Firlej, Stanislaw - Fleig, Pauline G027:   Fleischer, Albertine - Freiberg, Edith G028:   Freiberg, Emilie - Fritz, Georg G029:   Fritz, Franz - Gabryszewski, Johann G030:   Gabs, Emilie - Galovic, Ludmilla G031:   Galus, Josef - Gawinowska, Maria G032:   Gawinska, Irene - Gellner, Gustav G033:   Gelowicz, Anton - Gerretz, Helmaar G034:   Gerretz, Paul - Giland, Karl G035:   Gilardoni, Enricko - Glonert, Silvester G036:   Glotz, Michael - Golonka, Valentin G037:   Golowatsch, Ida - Graczyk, Franz G038:   Gradak, Wladislaus - Grigaluin, Waldemar G039:   Grigat, August - Grabitsch, Paula G040:   Grubitschitsch-Mostarac, Eleonore - Gryzbek, Bronislaw G041:   Gryzbek, Maria - Haak, Richard G042:   Haak, Robert - Hausser, Anna G043:   Hauser, Heinrich - Handel, Eduard G044:   Handel, Emil - Harth, Johann G045:   Hartinger, Adolf - Hauser, Heinrich G046:   Hauser, Hulda - Hektor, Johann G047:   Hektor, Otto - Hepperle, Klara G048:   Heppenstiel, Elisabeth - Heske, Georg G049:   Heske, Michael - Hinz, Alexander

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BDC (Berlin Document Center) an EWZ

Indexing Project - GRHS CH

Please see subject as presented at the 2006 convention here;

         EWZ Extraction Project - Tim Janzen and Elli Wise

         EWZ Indexing Project - Elli Wise and Ed Bischoff

This article by Elli Wise has been edited for different newsletters.  This particular article was put together for the Bessarabian Newsletter – issue 8-3, December 2004.

What is EWZ?

By Elli Wise

EWZ (Einwanderungszentralstelle) = [Immigration (control) center]

    The many immigrants returning to Germany generated many forms.  This short article will explain some of the forms as they relate to Germans returning to Poland and Germany during World War II.  I hope to be able to explain what the re-settlers had to undergo in order to become German citizens again.

    The EWZ microfilms contain applications for German citizenship during the years 1939 through 1945.

    The emigrants were re-settled into Germany and other areas under German control like Warthegau or Wartheland. Only ethnic Germans were originally wanted.  Some early re-settlers were put on land the Polish were ousted from – that is what my grandmother told me – and toward the end of the war when the Russians were closing in, those re-settlers had to also flee from these second homes they had. Germans who wanted to remain in Russia were forced to leave Russia because of the hatred of Russians against Germans . . . and if captured while on a Trek moving toward Germany, many were killed or sent to labor camps in Siberia and other similar places.  Entire families of Poland re-settlers died while trying to cross frozen waterways in winter when the ice broke, when they found the bridges jammed or destroyed as the Russians were moving close. Other families died from the air raid or illnesses and had to be left behind on the frozen ground without proper burials. 

    Perhaps many of these German re-settlers were included in the concentration camp transactions that took place. 

    All re-settlers were “geschleusst” (processed – actually the word “geschleusst” cannot be accurately translated and it appears to have been a thorough evaluation).  The re-settlers had to undergo thorough examinations to determine their health, their personal appearance and so on.  They had to fill out forms to prove their German origins.  There appeared to be some discrimination against people of certain backgrounds in faith or those with handicaps.  (You may now and then find correspondence referencing such in the records.)

    When the emigrants (re-settlers) reached their camp of destination, they may have had to wait weeks or months before they were to appear for the Durchschleussung as to where in the German Reich they would be infiltrated.

    While indexing I came across an interesting form which started out with the below regulation:

    “All re-settlers over age 14 are required to fill out certain forms.  In addition they need to bring all available certificates, Russian passports, Ukrainian ID’s, ID’s of German origin list (Volkslist), birth and baptism records, marriage records.” 

    Each re-settler of the age of 14 had to write his or her own Lebenslauf (in German or in Russian) which was basically their life’s story.

    The following items were to be filled in:  Surname, first name, birth date, birth place, last place of residence, name of parents, their birth and death dates. Also there was a section for the Lebenslauf to be written on.

    They were to bring these filled out forms and all other documents on the “Stichtag” – effective day or deadline for the Durchschleussung.

    Many German re-settlers emigrated to other countries or if they were captured by the Russians, they were sent back to Russia or even to Siberia to work in labor camps.

    For many reasons, like the instances stated above, these EWZ records may be the only information we have available on many families during the WWII era.  Without these records we may not ever know what happened to our families.  Certainly we may never know what happened to many who were lost during that time and no trace of them is being found.  However, having these documents available to us can help us thread our families together, even though we may never know what happened to some of them.  My own grandfather is still among the missing.  He was recruited from Romania, where he had emigrated to from the Ukraine, to fight in WWII for the German army, while his wife and children were re-settled to Poland.  His last short letter to his family was in April of 1945.  He was stationed near Stettin at the Elbe river.  There has been no trace found of what may have happened to him.  He is still missing . . .

    Toward the end of WWII with Germany losing the war, many records were seized by the United States and later microfilmed.  The original records have since been returned to Germany.  The EWZ collection is part of that collection.  There are other collections like the ‘Koblenz files,’ the ‘Library of Congress’ collection, and the DAI films.

    We are currently indexing the following EWZ series:

The 57 and 58 series should be included when researching the 50 and 51 series – because all series may not have the information that may be found within other series.

    The EWZ 50 and 51 series contain the forms ‘Stammblatt’ (pedigrees/family group charts) and can reflect 3 to 4 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 birthdates, and in some cases neither do parents or spouses.  However, the Stammblatt are usually documented in reverse and may reveal missing data on the spouse’s Stammblatt.

    In addition you may find Stammblaetter on the parents, even grandparents or the children.  This widens the scope of the data and it is possible to find information with birthdates going back to the 1800’s.

    Other forms like ‘Personalblatt’ provide similar information.

    The Stammblatt and Personalblatt forms indicate the status of single, married, widowed, etc.– with dates – if known.

    The researcher can find information on whether the persons were living, deceased , shot, verschleppt [taken away], verbannt [banished], missing, serving as soldiers, last place of residence etc.

    There are forms called ‘Feststellung der Deutschstaemmigkeit’ [determination of German origin] - a Family tree that shows ancestry (no dates) as to whether the persons are ethnic Germans or mixed nationalities.

    Other forms are health records, descriptions of the person, history of places lived in, their belongings, social status, etc.  In a lot of instances you may find photographs of individuals.

    We find forms called “Einbuergerungsantraege” (citizenship applications), “Abschrift der Einbuergerungsurkunde” (copy of citizenship certificate), the “Lebenslauf” (history of life), “Hitler Jugend Umsiedler Personalkarte” (Hitler Youth re-settler passport), “Volkstums Ausweis”  (Russian, Rumanian, etc., 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 to, and so on.  Many forms, like the Stammblatt and Personalblatt are typed and easy to read – one does not need to know the German language fluently. 

    The copy of citizenship certificate for a family will show birthdates and birth places and current residence of the head of household. It only shows the wife’s maiden name and 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.

    And – not in all cases will there be a citizenship certificate.  It is possible that citizenship was refused or that the 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.

    For the EWZ 50 and 51 series, NARA (National Archives) guides reflect the names of the person appearing on the first and last record on each microfilm.  This may not always identify if a person of interest can be found on a film because a person could appear on a different film because of variants in spelling of the surname, or they may not be included at all.

    When we build indexes, we use the forms which have the most pertinent information.  Usually the Stammblatt or the Personalblatt and on occasion, if these forms are missing, we use the citizenship certificate or the Lebenslauf (which is a hand-written “life story” of the applicant) and sometimes contains birth data on family members.

    The purpose of indexing these EWZ records is to lead the researcher to the films and frames for a certain individual.

    Our criteria for this indexing project has been to only include persons for whom a birth date is given.

     These 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.  The person using an EWZ index must go to the actual record to find such.

    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. 

    There is a lot more information on these documents and they should be evaluated thoroughly.

    These EWZ files can bring families together, especially for those who did not come to America at the same time their relatives did.  And for those who have relatives in Germany and were separated – these records may provide clues… 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.

    In my own case – there were few records available about my family.  Most of the originals had been destroyed during the flight from the Russians.  There were no pictures of my parents when they were young… The EWZ films provided me with some documentation and even photos of my mom and dad at the ages they were when they re-settled. This find alone is a huge treasure for me.  In addition, I was able to find out about the existence of my great-uncles and great-aunts and other relatives I had no idea about … and in some cases I even found photographs of them as well.

    In closing I would like to mention my friend Valerie Renner Ingram’s experience.  Because of the information she found in her father’s EWZ documents, she was able to find her half siblings 60 years after he had filled out these forms.  She gave workshops “Lost in Russia” at the past GRHS convention in Bismarck.  It is a most touching and emotional story. 

    Several hundreds of the various EWZ series microfilms are now in the collection at GRHS. One dedicated member of GRHS has personally invested greatly to build the EWZ 50 series collection to the point it now exists.

    We now need some other people with Bessarabian roots to help build our collection of the EWZ 51 series.  There is so much more information out there – waiting to be indexed and made available for our research….

    Note:  When I first looked into purchasing EWZ films I expected to find my Bessarabian families in the EWZ 50 series.  However, I could not find them there.  Then I found out that my Bessarabian ancestors were included in the Romanian EWZ 51 series.

I would like to share the following LDS historical notation:

“The name Bessarabia is derived from that of Prince Bessarab, a prince of the Walachian family of the same name, who extended his rule in the area.  By the end of the 15th century, the Turks conquered Bessarabia.  It was ceded to Russia in 1818.  In 1918, all of Bessarabia was ceded to Romania.  The Romanian peace treaty of 1947 confirmed Bessarabia as part of the U.S.S. R.  The larger central part was incorporated into Moldavia S. S. R.; extreme north and south sections, with predominantly Ukrainian speaking population, were added to the Ukrainian S. S. R. after WWII”.

    Please feel free to contact me or one of the other GRHS EWZ Clearing House people below if you care to participate in adding to our EWZ collection:

    If you have any EWZ microfilms in your possession and would like to loan them to us for indexing purpose, the microfilms will be returned to you within a reasonable time.

    EWZ films can be purchased at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Each film costs $34.00 US Dollars [went to $65 per film during the fall of 2005] and includes shipping (in USA) and are yours to keep.  We highly encourage our members to donate their reels to the GRHS library after they have finished with them, so that other researchers can also look through them without having to purchase the identical films.

    Also, there is a film duplication effort going on that enables the individual to loan their film to be reproduced at a low cost of $ 8.00 dollars.  This is another option to donate to the GHRS library without giving up the original copy you may want to keep.  For more information on the duplication/reproduction proposal you may contact Rachel at GRHS or me.

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See EWZ58 Archives-LDS Conversion Table by Tim Janzen

   


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