Ever since the EWZ (Einwanderer-zentralstelle), the Immigrant Control Center, records became accessible in the mid 1990s, I have thought that they might have information about the family ancestors who did not immigrate. When I started to study these records in January 2017, I had to no idea where I would be by the end of the year.
The best information about the history of these records comes from the copyrighted article, “Examples of Successful Stammblätter Research” by Steven Stroud in the FEEFHS Quarterly Volume VI, Numbers 1-4.
The EWZ records, were created in 1939 when ethnic Germans were re-settled in areas controlled at that time by the Third Reich–Germany, western Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.
Every person had to be registered and identified by race and nationality. The SS (Schutzstaffel [Protection] Squadron) was in charge of this process for about 2.1 million people.
Author’s Note: I requested FEEFHS to include this article on their website, but copyright restrictions may apply.
Later these records were taken to Munich to be destroyed, but they were captured by the Americans, brought to the United States and microfilmed. In 1991 the originals were taken back to the Berlin Document Center, and are now in the German Federal Archives. The microfilmed copies are available at the National Archives II (NARA II) in College Park, Maryland. The Family History Library (FHL) with its emphasis on births, marriage and deaths purchased two parts of this collection.
Two additional articles are also helpful:
1. “East European Emigration and the EWZ” by Dave Obee, past president of Feefhs and Canadian immigration research expert.
Obee reported that the “The information on the forms is remarkably accurate.” (Obee, page 56.)
2. “Immigration Records of the EWZ” by Steven W. Blodgett, A. G., copyrighted. Feefhs Quarterly Volume VI, Numbers 1-4.
Blodgett provides an over view of the FHL EWZ collection including the Einwanderer (aka (E/G Kartei), Gesundheits (health summary cards), ADREST index cards and Stammblätter. He also discusses the parts of the collection not at FHL, the Antrage and miscellaneous files.
A few Internet examples follow: There are other online articles. If you find one that pertains specifically to Lithuania, please comment on this post.
A nice powerpoint presentation from the 2015 SGGEE conference, this presentation carefully explains the basics of EWZ in a colorful, easy to read format. This example is an excellent starting point.
Although this article appears to focus on Volhynia, it also provides basic and important information about the collection.
This article provides the history and overview of the EWZ collections.
This article provides a history of Germans in Russia and provides a most detailed look at the vast collection of these records. This article could serve as a comprehensive overview for the experienced researcher. I recommend reading this article last.
There are many other excellent internet resources.
POST 1: Introduction
POST 2: Two Sources for the EWZ Collection
POST 3: Another EWZ Collection
POST 4: Goals: Comments, Questions, and Hypotheses
POST 5: Experiences with the EWZ Records
POST 6: Highlights of EWZ Records: Hutop
POST 7: A Major Breakthrough
POST 8: Highlights of EWZ Records: Spurgat