[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] EWZ Files

Jack Milner wjmilner at shaw.ca
Tue Jun 10 09:54:49 PDT 2014

During World War II more than 2.9 million individuals were processed by 
the German Immigration Center (EWZ), headed by Reichsführer Heinrich 
Himmler to facilitate the resettlement of ethnic Germans from other 
parts of Europe. As these ethnic Germans arrived in Germany, they were 
first registered and photographed. All individuals over the age of 15 
were registered and photographed individually. Everyone was subject to a 
health and racial examination to determine their qualifications for 
German settlement and citizenship. This resettlement was part of a much 
larger plan by Himmler and the Schutzstaffel (SS) to create a pure race 
of Germanic people throughout the Third Reich.

The documents of the German Immigration Center (EWZ) were captured in 
Bavaria by the U.S. Third Army in April, 1945 as German officials were 
preparing to destroy them. The documents were part of a much larger 
collection of SS documents and were thus of prime importance in the 
investigation into the acts of genocide committed by the SS during and 
preceding the war. These documents were transferred to the newly created 
Berlin Document Center in January, 1946, and later transferred to the 
National Archives in Washington, D.C. The records were finally returned 
to the German government in 1994 after they had been microfilmed and 
indexed by National Archives staff. In 1996 the 8,600 microfilm rolls 
were made available to researchers at the National Archives II at 
College Park, Maryland.

There are several groups of records, each with their own index for 
research purposes. One group of records are the E/G Kartei 
(A3342-EWZ57), containing almost three million alphabetically arranged 
cards of all ethnic Germans processed by the German Immigration Center. 
The information collected includes the following: personal information 
such as given names, maiden name if married, date and place of birth and 
date and place of marriage; names of parents and siblings; the names of 
family members living within the same household; and physical 
characteristics such as height and weight. Each individual was assigned 
a unique EWZ number, used throughout the collection of files.

A second group of records are the Anträge, containing the files of over 
400,000 applications. These records are organized by country and 
regional sub grouping. The series of files pertaining to the Soviet 
Union are identified as A3342-EWZ50. These files contain an incredible 
amount of genealogical information, used by the Third Reich to determine 
the racial quality of the individuals concerned. The following 
information is included for each person as applicable: date and place of 
birth; date and place of marriage; names of parents and grandparents 
(including maiden names) including their dates and places of birth, 
marriage and death; name of spouse including dates and places of birth, 
marriage and death; names of all children including their dates and 
places of birth and EWZ number if they were over 15 years old; a 
complete listing of where each individual lived and when he or she lived 
there; years the individual attended school and the location of the 
school; dates of entry into the Third Reich; copies of naturalization 
applications and certificates and passports; and in many cases a life 
story. Records also exist for persons of German ancestry who lived in 
Poland before World War II (A3342-EWZ52) and in the Baltic region 
(A3342-EWZ53), along with other areas throughout Europe.

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