Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss.11.18 (microfilm reels and external drive)

Title: Einwandererzentralstelle Mennonite Names microfilm collection

Note on access: Our policy is to provide access to these films and scans on site only. If you wish to order scans to be sent to you, please contact the Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia.

Dates of creation: 1939-1945; microfilmed 1992 ; scanned frames (pdf) completed 2020

Physical description: 199 microfilm reels (16 mm) ; 2,465,123 scans (pdf)

Administrative history: The EWZ files were created between 1939 and 1945 by the Einwandererzentralstelle (Immigration Center) of the German government. They contain information on approximately 2.9 million ethnic Germans who were processed by the center for immigration and naturalization during the war. These files presumably include data on all of the Mennonites who made their way to Germany in the Fall of 1943, as well as information on their immediate ancestors. While some of the information was collected in Russia, the bulk of it was obtained in German occupied territories after 1943. The files, under the control of the German Ministry of the Interior, were captured by the U.S. Army near the close of World War II. This collection of files was of extreme importance because it contained the files of the German S.S. The Berlin Document Center was established to process these documents. Later they were all microfilmed by the United States government before being returned to Germany. The U.S. microfilms are housed at the National Archives II complex at College Park, Maryland. The original files were formally transferred back to the reunified German state in 1994.

Scope and content: The reels in our collection have been identified as containing significant numbers of Mennonite names. This collection represent a small portion of the much larger collection of reels in the U.S. National Archives. There are scattered Mennonite names on other EWZ reels that are not part of this collection. More information on the EWZ files is available in an article by Tim Janzen published in the Mennonite Historian (vol. XXVI, no. 1 March 2000).

Custodial history: Due to coordination by Tim Janzen in 1992, a set of the microfilms containing significant numbers of Mennonite names were placed in the following Mennonite archives: Mennonite Heritage Centre, Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia, Mennonite Library and Archives (Bethel College), Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Tabor College), Germans from Russia Heritage Society, Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Fresno, California). In 2020, the Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia completed a project to scan its copies of the microfilm reels. The scans have been made available at the Mennonite archives listed above, including the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. 

Notes: These files are not yet fully indexed for Mennonite content. The completed indexes for reels are being placed on the Odessa Library web site at Richard Thiessen has been carefully reviewing the indexes and has identified over 58,000 Mennonites on the 199 microfilms purchased thus far, of which probably 10% or so are duplicates. He has placed the data for these Mennonites in an EWZ Mennonite Excel file. A version of this file is available on the website Mennonite Genealogy.

Original description created by Sam Steiner in 1992 and updated by Laureen Harder-Gissing in 2020.

Steps to access these files:

  1. Search either the Black Sea German Research database or the Index of Mennonite Names to find the name(s) you are looking for.
  2. Note the EWZ reel (film) numbers of the names you are interested in. All of these numbers should start with the prefix A3342-EWZ50-. If the prefix you find is different, we will not have these files in our collection.
  3. Following the prefix will be a file number (example: C021). Check the list of file number ranges below to see if your number is included in them. Check both the "microfilm scans" list and "microfilm reels" lists as the number ranges for each format may be slightly different. If you find the range your number is in, then that file is in our collection.
  4. Prepare a list of numbers for the files you are interested in. Make sure to include the frame number (the number which follows the file number). The complete number (including the prefix, file and frame number), will correspond to the document you are seeking.
  5. Contact the archives to make an appointment to view the files.
  6. If you wish to save scans of the files, it is helpful to bring your own USB device.

File list:

File number ranges of microfilm scans held by the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, A3342-EWZ50-

  • A001-A102
  • B001-B014, B016-B092
  • C001-C024, C026-C077
  • D001-D038, D040-D078
  • E001-E041, E044-E056, E059-E088
  • F001-F014, F016-F017, F022-F049, F051-F086
  • G001-G086, G088-G089
  • H001-H050, H052-H085
  • I001-I031, I033-I095
  • J001-J039, J041-J051
  • K001-K004

File number ranges of micofilm reels held by Mennonite Archives of Ontario, A3342-EWZ50-

A002-A004 D018  
A023 D024-D027 H014-H015
A026-A028 D032-D034 H021
A046-A048 D038 H023
A075-A078 D042-D046 H042-H046
A088-A089 D051 H049-H050
A096 D072 H061-H063
B006 E005-E009 H074
B011 E021 H083
B014 E030-E031  
B020-B025 E033 I006
B027-B030 E050-E051 I017
B038 E077-E078 I040
B043-B047 E080-E084 I045
B054-B056   I047-I052
B062 F006-F008 I055-I056
B068-B069 F011 I060
B071 F030-F033 I067-I069
B074 F043 I073-I074
B079-B082 F075-F080 I076-I077
B085-B086 F084-F086 I082-I083
C005 G002  
C007 G014-G015 J002
C012-C013 G020-G021 J004
C019-C021 G023-G026 J012-J017
C046 G028-G031 J021-J022
C048-C050 G051 J025
  G054-G055 J027-J028
D003-D005 G058-G059 J036
D012-D013 G067-G070  


Generally 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.


Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238