Combined electrical and electron spin resonance analysis reveals dramatic differences in the interface defect properties of the (100)Ge/GeOxNy/HfO2 and (100)Ge/GeO2 interfaces from the seemingly similar interfaces of (100)Si with the HfO2 and SiO2. No dangling bond centers associated with Ge crystal surface atoms are detected. Only paramagnetic defects in the near-interfacial Ge oxide or Ge(oxy) nitride layers are observed. In contrast to the amphoteric traps related to the dangling bonds (P-b-type centers) commonly observed at the silicon/insulator interfaces, the major component of the Ge/insulator interface trap spectrum comes from slow acceptor states which show no correlation with paramagnetic centers and are resistant to passivation by hydrogen. (c) 2005 American Institute of Physics.