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* Bessarabien Verein
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Recommended Articles


Weiss, Merv
"Finding Lost Cousins" in the  Heritage Review, September 2008 (Germans from Russia Heritage Society)

 

 

Researching Germany after South Russia


 Overview Only a handful of ethnic Germans live in the Black Sea region today due to several waves of deportation or forced migration. However, many Black Sea Germans have ended up back in Germany. Some settled in Germany immediately after World War II, and some have returned much more recently.

World War II:
The Bessarabia and Dobrudscha Germans were resettled in 1940 based on a pact between Stalin and Hitler. These families were first settled in Poland, then had to flee westward to Germany in January 1945 when the Russian army advanced on Polish territory.

The Black Sea Germans in the Odessa region were forcibly “trekked” out of South Russia in 1944, following the retreating Nazi army and with the Russian army rapidly advancing behind them. These families also settled temporarily in Poland, then fled to Germany in 1945.

Many families safely reached the Allied Occupation Zones and have lived in western Germany ever since.  However,  a large number of displaced Black Sea Germans were captured in the Russian Occupation Zone.  Stalin reclaimed them as Russian citizens and sent them east of the Ural Mountains and into Siberia.  Tragically, the Allies cooperated with the Soviet Union by allowing them to round up many families who had “safely” reached the Allied Occupation Zones.

Spätaussiedler:
After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989, ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union had the opportunity to leave. Germany agreed to recognize the citizenship granted to them during WWII, or would accept them upon proof of their German ethnicity. Those returning to Germany from the Soviet Union are called Spätaussiedler.

EWZs
EWZ stands for Einwanderungszentralstelle or Central Immigration Control department. These forms were filled out as German settlers left their South Russian villages or while they were in refugee camps in Poland or eastern Germany. They may give you clues to family members and where the family went. Make sure you read the EWZ Questions and Answers and check out the Black Sea German Database as many EWZ indexes are included.