lebensborn

Discussion in 'Germany' started by vailron, Oct 25, 2006.

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  1. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    hitlers plan to breed the master race led to the opening of "lebensborn" maternity units where german women went to have their babies, after giving bnirth 4 times the women were awarded the " mothers cross"
     
  2. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Lebensborn

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    A Lebensborn birth house


    Lebensborn (Source of Life, in German) was a child welfare and relocation program initiated by Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler to secure the racial heredity of the Third Reich. After the Second World War it was widely reported that the objective of the program was to establish housings where the Nazi regime would breed, through copulation, racially pure humans to create a strong race of Aryans. In reality, evidence of such plans has never been found.
    Content
    Background

    The Lebensborn e.V. (eingetragener Verein) organization was founded on December 12, 1935. Located in Munich, the organization was partly an office within the Schutzstaffel (SS) and responsible for certain family welfare programs, and partly a society for Nazi leaders. The purpose of the program was to provide incentives to encourage Germans, especially SS members, to have more children.

    On September 13, 1936, Himmler wrote the following to members of SS [1]:The organization "Lebensborn e.V." serves the SS leaders in the selection and adoption of qualified children. The organization "Lebensborn e.V." is under my personal direction, is part of the race and settlement central bureau of the SS, and has the following obligations:
    Part of the Politics series on
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    Politics Portal v·d·e (1) aid for racially and biologically-hereditarily valuable families (2) the accommodation of racially and biologically-hereditarily valuable mothers in appropriate homes, etc. (3) care of the children of such families (4) care of the mothers It is the honorable duty of all leaders of the central bureau to become members of the organization "Lebensborn e.V.". The application for admission must be filed prior to 23/9/1936.
    The Lebensborn office was part of SS Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt (SS Office of Race and Settlement) until 1938, when it was transferred to Hauptamt Persönlicher Stab Reichsführer-SS (Personal Staff of the Reich Leader SS), ie. directly overseen by Himmler. Leaders of Lebensborn e.V. were SS-Standartenführer Max Sollmann and SS-Oberführer Dr. Gregor Ebner.

    Implementation

    Initially the program served as a welfare institution for wives of SS officers; the organization ran facilities where these women could give birth or get help with family matters. Furthermore, the program accepted unmarried women who were either pregnant or had already given birth and were in need of aid, provided that both the woman and the father of the child were racially valuable. Parents and children were examined by SS doctors before admittance. Later such facilities also served as temporary homes, orphanages and as an adoption service.
    The first Lebensborn home (known as Heim Hochland) opened in 1936 in Steinhöring, a tiny village not far from Munich. The first home outside of Germany opened in Norway in 1941.
    While Lebensborn e.V. established facilities in several occupied countries, activities were concentrated around Germany, Norway and the occupied North-Eastern Europe, mainly Poland. The main focus in occupied Norway was aiding children born by German soldiers and Norwegian mothers; in North-Eastern Europe the organization, in addition to services provided to SS members, engaged in the relocation of children, mostly orphans, to families in Germany.
    Lebensborn e.V. had facilities, or planned to, in the following countries (some were merely field offices):
    • Germany: 11
    • North-Eastern occupied Europe: 3
    • Norway: 10 (or as many as 15)
    • Denmark: 2
    • France: 1 (February, 1944 - August, 1944)
    • Belgium: 1 (from March 1943)
    • The Netherlands: 1
    • Luxembourg: 1
    For more information about Lebensborn and consequences of the program in Norway, see War children.

    Post-war trial

    After the war the branch of the Lebensborn organization operating in North-Eastern Europe was accused of kidnapping children deemed racially valuable in order to resettle them with German families. However, of approximately 10,000 foreign-born children located in the American-controlled area of Germany after the war, the Court in the trial against the leaders of the organization (United States of America v. Ulrich Greifelt, et. al.), found that only 340 had been handled by Lebensborn e.V. The accused were acquitted on charges of kidnapping.

    The Court did find ample evidence of an existing kidnapping/forced relocation program of children in North-Eastern Europe, but indicated that these activities were carried out by other than members of Lebensborn. Exactly how many children who were relocated by Lebensborn or other organizations remains unknown due to SS members destroying archives before fleeing advancing Allied forces. From the trial's transcript: [2]The prosecution has failed to prove with the requisite certainty the participation of Lebensborn, and the defendants connected therewith in the kidnapping program conducted by the Nazis. While the evidence has disclosed that thousands upon thousands of children were unquestionably kidnapped by other agencies or organizations and brought into Germany, the evidence has further disclosed that only a small percentage of the total number ever found their way into Lebensborn. And of this number only in isolated instances did Lebensborn take children who had a living parent. The majority of those children in any way connected with Lebensborn were orphans of ethnic Germans.
    As a matter of fact, it is quite clear from the evidence that Lebensborn sought to avoid taking into its homes, children who had family ties; and Lebensborn went to the extent of making extensive investigations where the records were inadequate, to establish the identity of a child and whether it had family ties. When it was discovered that the child had a living parent, Lebensborn did not proceed with an adoption, as in the case of orphans, but simply allowed the child to be placed in a German home after an investigation of the German family for the purpose of determining the good character of the family and the suitability of the family to care for and raise the child.
    Lebensborn made no practice of selecting and examining foreign children. In all instances where foreign children were handed over to Lebensborn by other organizations after a selection and examination, the children were given the best of care and never ill-treated in any manner.
    It is quite clear from the evidence that of the numerous organizations operating in Germany who were connected with foreign children brought into Germany, Lebensborn was the one organization which did everything in its power to adequately provide for the children and protect the legal interests of the children placed in its care.
    Upon the evidence submitted, the defendant Sollmann is found not guilty on counts one and two of the indictment.
    In Norway the Lebensborn organization handled approximately 250 adoptions. In most of these cases the mothers had agreed to the adoption, though not all were informed that their child would be sent to Germany. The Norwegian government brought back all but 80 of these children after the war. The Norwegian Lebensborn records are intact, the majority stored at the The National Archival Services of Norway.
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Legend has it - An aunt of mine was chosen for the Aryan matching program. Her father, believing her too young at the time managed to 'get her off' using his connections as an SS Officer. Her 'great escape' though she still married an SS Officer halfway through the war, any other kind of husband apparently being unthinkable. :huh:
    Strange times.
     
  4. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    this was hitlers way of ensuring the survival of the pure arryan race, and providing cannon fodder for his army in future years
     
  5. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    And here's some current news on the topic.

    Lebensborn Children to Meet for First Time



    By MELISSA EDDY, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 3, 2:39 PM ET

    BERLIN - For decades they suffered in silence, aging Germans who as children were selected by the Nazis for their Aryan qualities and handed over to SS families. Collectively known as "Lebensborn children," some will gather publicly Saturday for the first time.

    Many are trying to make peace with pasts they long kept cloaked from shame. They are asking questions, tracing their roots and demanding that the truth be told about SS chief Heinrich Himmler's Lebensborn, or "Source of Life," program.

    "It is an important issue and it is time that it finally comes to light," said 64-year-old Dagmar Jung, whose adoptive parents refused for years to answer her questions about her past as a Lebensborn child.

    This weekend, Jung will be in the eastern town of Wernigerode, where the Nazis ran the "Harz" Lebensborn home, for a meeting of Lebensspuren — Traces of Life — an association formed last year. For the first time, part of the session Saturday will be open to the public.

    Of the group's 60 members, nearly two-thirds are Lebensborn children who, now in their 60s, feel a growing need to uncover their past and break one of the last taboos about the Adolf Hitler era in Germany.

    Lebensborn was a lesser-known side of Nazi racial experiments. While millions of Jews and others deemed "undesirable" were being slaughtered, thousands of children were carefully selected for Aryan physical qualities and given to families of SS members to be raised.

    The Nazis kept the program so secret that many of those selected often do not know who they really are.

    Created in 1935, the program became the stuff of legend in the postwar years. Misleadingly depicted in several films as a high-end bordello offering blue-eyed blondes to SS officers with the aim of creating a master race, association with the program became doubly shameful.

    "To this day, many of them suffer from the consequences of secrecy and the Nazi ideologies of race," said Matthias Meissner, a Lebensspuren member.

    Conservative estimates put the number of Lebensborn children in Germany somewhere around 5,500, but exact numbers do not exist.

    "There is far too little written about it in history books and reference works," said Jung, who has spent 30 years trying to piece together her true identity.

    After years of urging, her adoptive father revealed clues that finally led to her birth mother, and Jung has built a relationship with her. The search for her father took several more years and ended in disappointment when Jung discovered they had lived in the same city for years but he died in 1963.

    In the early years, those running Lebensborn preyed on the difficult situation many unwed pregnant women found themselves in during those more conservative times. It offered them a chance to have babies in comfortable state-run homes, where the children stayed until they were adopted.

    Adoptive mothers and fathers were required to prove not only their Aryan qualities, but also the absence of any mental or other genetic illnesses or defects. Only about 50 percent were accepted, historians say.
    Lebensborn was expanded after the Nazis overran Denmark and Norway in 1940. There, German occupation soldiers were encouraged to find suitable local partners, who were offered the chance to have babies in one of 10 Lebensborn homes set up in the region.

    Some 8,000 children were eventually born in Norway, and thousands more were registered in Denmark. Lebensborn also operated in the occupied Netherlands.

    Stigmatized and reviled by their own societies as "war babies," some Lebensborn children began speaking out several years ago. In 2002, the Norwegian government offered them compensation.

    In Germany, the focus is more on education than on compensation, and on creating a network of support. Germans raised in the program have contacted similar groups in Denmark and Norway.

    "I want to give others courage," said Jung. "To send the message, no matter how old you are, it is worth it to find out where you came from."


    JT
     
  6. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Very interesting information on what is after all a long forgotten aspect of Nazi Culture
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Thanks for posting that Jacobtowne!
     
  8. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

    Yeh thanks for that insight into a mostly forgotten part of Nazi-German culture Jacobtowne
     
  9. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    There's a brief story today on the BBC website. Here's a photo.

    JT

    Hans-Ulrich Wesch shows a photo from his Lebensborn past.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Lebensborn Children to Meet for First Time

    This whole story is heart-breaking. I remember reading some time ago about the recollections of some Red Cross staff who had managed to locate some kidnapped children who were so young that they didnot remember their true origins, and so did not want to leave their "adoptive" parents.

    Some of the stories have been described at:

    http://www.projectinposterum.com/docs/lucas2.htm
     
  11. vailron

    vailron Senior Member

    it was in the paper this last wweekend about a reunion in germany, of children bnorn in some of the lebensborn units apparently it is their first reunio, as up until now it has been a very taboo subject in germany
     
  12. laufer

    laufer Senior Member

    One of the regions that suffered most during Nazi occupation of Poland was area around town of Zamosc (renamed by Germans Himmlerstadt). Zamosc became the place of executions and a transit point for Jewish people sent to death camp in Belzec, as well as the transit point for Poles expelled from Wielkopolska (Greater Poland). In 1942 Zamosc region was chosen for a great ethnic laboratory as a planned settlement for Transilvanian Germans. Although, the plan did not finalize and the planned number of Germans did not come to live there, the expulsion of Poles and other nationalities proceeded.
    The deportations took place from the end of 1942 to 1943. Altogether 110,000 people including 30,000 children from Zamosc, Bilgoraj, Tomaszow and Hrubieszow districts were deported. In summer 1943 - after a racial selection - about 4,5 thousands of children from 2 to 11 years old were sent for germanization in Germany. The remaining children were transported with or without their parents to the concentration camps, some of them were gased, others were taken to special villages. The fate of many children from region of Zamosc is unknown.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

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    " Association Lebensborn"

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    The whole concept just from the pictures looks evil to me.
     
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    When did you last see a nurse with such a well ironed uniform....and they stiil wonder why patients go into Hospitals with one thing ... and come out with another ?
    Something to do with hygene do you think - and personal care ?
    Cheers
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think I'd rather take my chances in a NHS Hospital than that place thanks.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  16. Ruimteaapje

    Ruimteaapje Member

    Something I posted years ago in another forum...

    The Lebensborn project is a good example of the strange ideas of the Nazi regime. In short, the Lebensborn project was indeed created to get a "perfect race". For this purpose SS men (and in several cases other men who fitted the Aryan profile) were asked to make a child with a mother (German but also in many cases Norwegian) who also fitted the profile. After they gave birth, the childeren were raised by foster parents but also in foster homes which were supervised by the SS. When the war ended these kids were simply left behind in the foster homes. A total of about 11,000 childeren were born in the Lebensborn hospitals, but note that this also includes childeren from unwed mothers, who were also accepted by these hospitals, but in such cases every effort was made to arrange marriages with the biological fathers. Off course all parents, both from the Lebensborn program and unwed mothers, had to provide Aryan ancestry including all four grandparents. Women with genetic defects were also excluded.

    Problem with some of the "Lebensbornkinder" after the war was that the Lebensborn files ended up at the eastern side of the Iron Curtain. About half of all childeren knew their mother, but about 5000 German kids grew up not knowing their parents. Those in the west could not find info and those in the east were denied access to their file (they used the identity of the kids for espionage purposes) This all changed after the fall of communism in 1990. Among millions of files in East German archives, the major part of the Lebensborn files were found. Many childeren found their parents after 40 years. In many cases it was to late because one or both parents had died already.
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    When did you last see a nurse with such a well ironed uniform....and they stiil wonder why patients go into Hospitals with one thing ... and come out with another ?

    Or maybe the nice uniform was just for the pic?
     

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