Lebensborn: The Horrifying Story Of Hitler’s Cruelest Experiment

Being a blond-haired, blue-eyed baby in central Europe before World War II got you admiring looks.
During Hitler’s tyranny, however, it was simply a curse, for it attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler, the psychopathic head of the German SS, and you were instantly ripped away from your mother’s arms.

Himmler’s obsession with “purity” began way before the war when he allegedly conducted experiments in breeding ‘pure white’ chickens at his poultry farm. It was only natural then, that he would become the head architect of Hitler’s most sinister plan.

After millions of the ‘impure’ (Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, blacks) had been exterminated in Hitler’s death camps, a new breed of supposedly genetically-superior beings would be needed to populate the world.

So to fulfill this requirement and safeguard the future of the Thousand-Year Reich, the ‘Lebensborn’ (Fount of Life) breeding programme was devised in 1935.

Hitler justified his racism with Darwinian science, stating,

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all.”

One part of the scheme involved special ‘breeding clinics’ where pure German SS officers were encouraged to mate with suitable women in places where blonde hair and blue eyes were part of the local genetic make-up, even outside of their marriage.

They were told that they weren’t committing adultery; they were merely doing their jobs.

Women were given incentives to breed Aryan children.

For some, it was a matter of survival in a poor, war-torn country. Regardless of why the chose to join, they had to first sign a waiver stating that their children would be the property of the state. After the first two weeks, many of these women never saw their children again.

There were at least ten Lebensborn homes in Germany, and nine in Nazi-occupied Norway, where the unmarried pregnant women could give birth in secret. According to Hildegard Trutz, a Lebensborn mother, the SS officers who fathered Lebensborn children were “very tall and strong with blue eyes and blond hair.”

After a meet-and-greet session with a group of SS officers, the women were given a week to choose their mate, who then slept with them for three evenings in the first week. The babies born were christened in a ritual in which an SS dagger was held over them as the mother swore allegiance to Nazi ideology.

Of course, if any of them were disabled, they were killed or sent to concentration camps.

Yet by far, the cruelest aspect of the programme involved stealing children who fitted the desired racial stereotype who could be ‘Germanised’ in Nazi families.
SS officers scoured the occupied lands, kidnapping around 12,000 blue-eyed, blond children from their families who were then brought up in luxury by dedicated Nazi couples.

When the war ended in 1945, however, everything changed. The former Lebensborn elite were unwanted reminders of a grim past, and suddenly became outcasts in every country.

Having a German father was enough to send these children from the previously occupied countries to mental hospitals, where many were tortured and raped. Their mothers, so-called ‘German whores’, were forced into slave labour at secret prison camps. 

The Norwegian government even tried sending 8,000 of these ‘Nazi whore children’ to Australia to get rid of them. Because of their ‘Nazi genes’, they were deemed capable of forming a fascist fifth column, and hence dangerous.

Now, past 60, some still get spat on in the street.

But there were also children weren’t aware of their origins for decades, if at all.

Because the identities of their fathers were never recorded on their birth certificates, and they lived with the mystery all their lives because their mothers refused to speak about it.
After all, these are the same women who pledged the SS oath.

“My honour is loyalty”, they swore. And they’d rather die than speak the condemning truth.

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Amanda Francesca Mendonça

After spending pretty much all of my teen years waiting for a Hogwarts letter that never came, I gave up and settled for being a wizard with words instead. A hopeless romantic, when I’m not penning down short stories, I’m busy imagining my own happily ever after.

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