EWZ Cards: Some Possible Answers to Abbreviations

On 6 December 2018, I wrote a blog post pointing out some of the abbreviations on my ancestor’s EWZ cards, asking my general readership (and anyone else for that matter) if they had clues as to their origin and meaning. I sent the blog post to the author of the Genealogy for German Lutherans in Suwalki Province blog whom I’ve corresponded and collaborated with on a number of occasions. The author of that blog has a series of posts surrounding their own ancestor’s EWZ cards, so it was only natural that I ‘huddled’ with them to see if we could put our heads together and figure some of this out.

The author has a fellow researcher in Germany. He emailed a response on the 15th of December and in it, both confirmed some of our suspicions but also brought to light some new theories.

Here were the cards I included on my original post from 6 December with the abbreviations and corresponding numbers.  Included below are the researcher’s comments:

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No 1: Li means indeed Litauen

No 2: eh. = ehelich means born legitimate

No 3: yes, these numbers refer to how German they have been categorized (and it’s indeed confusing…)

No 4: her blood group, in German it is not usual to use letter O, but number 0 (Zero=Null)

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No 7 +  8: A.R. = means Altreich, even if she has been naturalized she got the comment as ‘political not reliable’, A-Fall means the same > Altreich, normally categories I & II have been O = Ost cases means settlers for the East, but obviously due to her political ideas she had to go to the Altreich to get her influenced in the ‘correct’ way. By the way, I can’t see any information why she should be political unreliable. Only explanation which would make sense for me is her profession...as she has been a civil servant of the Lithuanian Postal Service. So, this can imply that you’re more loyal to this state than a carpenter or a farmer, but this is just a guess.

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No 10: belongs to..gehört zu; maybe...numbers 1 up to and including 5 are full siblings and the other 2 persons are children from a previous marriage (their years of birth are at least much earlier…)

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No 11: kv is the standard abbr. for kreigsverwendungsfähig (fit for military action or purposes), probably this stamp is only on docs of male family members or at least we could expect this, but depending of the profession (nurses, translators, postal workers…) women could also be kv…

KV = Kulturverein (cultural association) is also a possible explanation as such an organization existed for the Suwalki Germans. However, it makes no sense to mention this in this part of the file…


I agree with everything this researcher has proposed with the exception of his comments on No. 10. When I reread what he had written, I looked at the card carefully again and noticed something interesting: siblings 1-5 were, at the time this EWZ card was written, all single. The bottom two siblings (Albert and Hermann) were both married by the time this card was created. Additionally, the card didn’t mention the eldest sibling, Berta Salecker (born 1907) at all.

The researcher’s idea that perhaps the last two siblings were from a previous marriage doesn’t hold up--the parents Joseph Salecker and Marie Obereiner married in 1901--that I was sure of. But I also realized that since Berta was also married by the time this card was created, her surname wouldn’t have been Salecker--but rather her new married name (Schmidt.)

It’s my prediction that the reason Arthur (who's card this belongs to) ‘belongs to’ the family group of 1-5 because he, like them, is unmarried and so they are all still a ‘family unit.’ Whereas Albert and Hermann belong to two separate family units that they have created through their marriage and, additionally, Berta isn’t mentioned at all because of she no longer holds the surname Salecker.

That doesn’t mean to say that the gehört zu category could never include (or rather, exclude) half siblings--rather--in this particular case--it does not. I think it would make sense that if Albert and Hermann (and Berta for that matter) happened to be half siblings, they would also have not been numbered.

What is also interesting: Joseph and Marie Salecker allegedly had twins in 1930. According to the family, these were their two children—and I have no evidence so far, that says otherwise. However, Marie would have been nearly 50 years old in 1930. Giving birth at that age in 1930 is amazing enough, but giving birth to twins? That seems almost unheard of…

Of course the information contained in the rest of these individuals EWZ records may help to confirm some of these theories. My plan to hire a researcher in Washington D.C., to do this, has been put on hold. It seems that the President’s shutdown has closed all NARA facilities and no one can access any records there until the partial government shutdown is over….