LEBENSBORN PROGRAM PTII: NAZI KIDNAPPING OF CHILDREN

 Family Court Injustice has been documenting historical events and real life stories of children stolen from their families by unjust courts or through government and judicial policies and/or abuses of power. This article about the Lebensborn Program (1935-1945), Nazi Occupied Europe gives a glimpse into the Nazi eugenics program to create a “master race” that also included kidnapping and murder in it’s policies. 

“Lebensborn” meaning “fount of life” was a secret program implemented by the Nazis (1935-1945) with the goal of engineering a “master race”. Another part of Lebensborn included ridding the population of those considered “unwanted” or “subhuman” to further the Aryan race. The official purpose of Lebensborn was the “preservation and promotion of racially valuable Germanic hereditary property”.

Part I of the Lebensborn series includes information on women selected as “racially pure” who were chosen to bear children with SS officers and other Nazi officials. Most of the women (85%) participating in the Lebensborn program were single, the women were able to conceive in secrecy, and give up their babies for adoption without ridicule or public shame (which was the common response of that era). The children were pledged to the Nazi state, and the SS took charge of their education and adoption (small numbers of women did chose to raise their children). Lebenborn homes were also set up to become maternity homes and birthing centers for wives of Nazi officers. Read Part I here: https://familycourtinjustice.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/lebensborn-pt-i-nazi-program-breed-master-race/

Part II of the Lebensborn series is about the secret Nazi plan to kidnap children in order to “Germanize” them, creating future generations of soldiers and loyal servants to the Third Reich. In Poland alone, from 1940-1945, an estimated 200,000 Polish children living on the German occupied territory in Poland were forcibly taken from their families. An estimated 400,000 children were kidnapped from other parts of Europe including Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and Yugoslavia.

Kidnapped children were “Germanized”, meaning they were given a German name, forced to speak German, indoctrinated with Nazi ideology and forced to cut all ties with their family and former life. The children were given a new birth certificate, a fake genealogy, and adopted or fostered into German homes. Other children lived in institutions, state boarding schools or military camps. Younger children (ages birth to age 6) were cared for at Lebensborn homes until they could be adopted.

Children found to be “unwanted” or children who resisted “Germanization” were sent to slave labor camps or concentration camps, targeted for medical experimentation, or murdered. These medical experiments became the basis for the later MK Ultra and Operation Artichoke programs implemented by the US government, who had imported Nazi scientists after the war. 

 CHILDREN KIDNAPPED BY THE NAZIS:

The Nazi kidnapping of children was kept highly secret, and operated through 6 Nazi programs, all under the leadership of the SS.

When the Nazi could not breed enough “super race” children, the Nazis sought “racially valuable” children of non-German populations, meaning those with “Aryan” traits such as blond hair and blue or green eyes. Kidnapped children were taken by force, and by gunpoint. Force includes hunting children down in schools, parks and markets. Police came to homes with guns drawn to seize children. Some parents were told their children were being sent to work, and would return. Other children were just taken with no information given to parents. Some families hid children or smuggled them to safe places, to avoid the Nazis.

Once seized by the Nazis, children were sent to “children education camps” or Kindererziehungslager, which were used to test “racial values”. Children were given thorough medical exams, with their skulls measured, birthmarks meticulously analyzed, the color of hair or eyes considered, to determine eligibility.

A Nazi nurse shares the light rays as scientists try vainly to lighten the hair coloring of Super Race children

The process to “Germanize” the children was brutal. Children were told their parents were dead or did not want them to get the children to reject their families. Children were told to forget their home, their country of origin and brainwashed into Nazi ideology. Children were given new German names; the names were often closely related to their real name, or German variations of their real name. The thought was a similar name would help the children feel more connected, and be able to better integrate. 

“Germanized” children were given a new name, new birth certificate, falsified genealogy and shipped into Germany to live in institutions or be adopted into German families. Younger children (ages 2-6) were sent to Lebensborn homes. German families were not told about the true origin of the children they adopted, and often accepted these children with love, and considered them their own. Other German families considered it their duty to raise children who were loyal to the Nazi state, and enforced Nazi ideology. Other children were held in boarding schools or institutions, and military camps, treatment of the children in these settings varied, many children reported abuse from caretakers.

The Nazis also took children from parents who were considered dissidents, resistance or enemies of the state. The parents were often murdered or sent to prisons or concentration camps. If the children were viewed as desirable, they were selected for “Germanization”. If not, the children were sent to concentration camps, slave labor camps or killed. For example, on July 25, 1942, Himmler ordered children from Slovenia to be seized and sent to Germany. Their fathers had been shot for resistance activities, and their mothers had been sent to concentration camps.

 Children who resisted “Germanization” were beaten, drugged, deprived of food and  if they did not comply, killed or sent to concentration camps. An untold number of children disappeared. Project InPosterum has preserved stories of the children kidnapped by the Nazis, including stories of children who resisted “Germanization” and a few that managed to run away: http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/lucas3.htm

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: http://www.ushmm.org/

The Nazis began destroying records of Lebensborn and the kidnapping programs in 1945. Much of the information known was gathered by the UN Tracing agents who interviewed families and older children. About 25,000 Polish children out of the 200,000 reported missing were returned home and, entirely through the efforts of individual UN Tracing teams. Researchers have found it nearly impossible to determine just how many children were taken, and how many survived.

— Emily Court/M21

SOURCES: 

Nazi Lebensborn Program: Occupied Countries: http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/leb/leb-occ.html

 “Revealed: Nazi scheme to kidnap ‘Aryan’ children from occupied countries”. By Alan Hall, The Daily Mail, October 11, 2007: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-486964/Revealed-Nazi-scheme-kidnap-Aryan-children-occupied-countries.html

 Wikipedia: Kidnapping of Children by Nazi Germany: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidnapping_of_children_by_Nazi_Germany

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About Emily Court

Mom & Kids Need "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. "Emily Court" is a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. Emily is fighting to keep her kids safe, and bring them home. Through writing and blogging, Emily is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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7 Responses to LEBENSBORN PROGRAM PTII: NAZI KIDNAPPING OF CHILDREN

  1. Pingback: LEBENSBORN PROGRAM PTII: NAZI KIDNAPPING OF CHILDREN | Crime Family task force

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  3. familycourtfemmesfightingcorruption says:
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    • Emily Court says:

      Hitler was obsessed with creating the “Master Race” and creating this Utopian world. The Nazi regime even attempted to scientifically re-create animal species, and alter the environment.

      What we know from records and testimony that blond hair and blue eyes was not simply enough to be considered Aryan – bloodlines were important, as well as becoming a loyal and obedient state citizen. For non-German citizens to qualify as Aryan there were impossible standards to meet, which included things like measuring the size of your skull, what social or religious groups you (and your family) affiliated with, your genealogy, if you could perform certain physical feats. Children were subjected to bizarre, and often inhumane, medical treatments and experiments to create the “Master Race”. Thousands were murdered if they fell short by Nazi standards.

      This is a horrific, dark chapter in history. I struggle to make any sense of this, other than to say the Nazi regime was born out of pure evil.

      FRANCE:

      The first Lebensborn home opened in 1936, in the tiny village of Steinhoering (near Munich), an estimated 2,800 children were born here. The home was furnished with goods stolen from Jewish families, who were then sent to the death camp Dachau. Many of the Lebensborn facilities were residences, nursing homes or other buildings stolen from Jewish families and business owners. Lebensborn quickly grew with 14 homes in Germany and Austria, 9 in Norway, and one home in each Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxemburg and Holland.

      After WWII ended, Women who had relationships with German soldiers were publicly scorned and even jailed as “collaborators”. No trial, evidence or witness testimony was required to sentence these women. Women were publicly harassed, and even paraded through the streets as “traitors”. Many woman were spit on, hit or kicked, and had their hair shaven off. Some women were executed. There are 26,000 known cases of French women being punished for having a relationship with a German.

      In the WWII era, there are an estimated 200,000 French children born to German fathers. Not all are Lebensborn children, many French women married or had consensual relationships with German men. Children born to French women and Nazi fathers suffered as well. Most were forced to live in secrecy due to public ostracism and discrimination (they may be denied housing, jobs, or publicly named and shamed).

      Families that fostered or raised these children often abused and neglected the children – punishing them for being German, or for Nazi atrocities. It wasn’t until the Elysée Treaty was signed by de Gaulle and Adenauer in 1963 that the anti-German feelings in France began to ease. The subject is still highly emotional, and many adults who have been persecuted because of their origin are still struggling with coming to terms with their family history and resulting public shame. Many of these children grew up without a father, and are seeking answers to their paternity, and wanting to connect to that lost part of themselves.

      Author Jean-Paul Picaper has brought the controversial subject to light in his book “Enfants Maudits” (cursed children), published in France and Germany, where he has interviewed 15 French children who have been treated as pariahs or forced into secrecy because they have German fathers. Picapers book is credited with helping to raise awareness, and helping the children (who are now adults) find resolution.

      For More Info:

      (Video) A Child for Hitler: Nazi Lebensborn Program. The 1992 documentary follows the journey of Renate Jackeln, born in a Lebensborn home and reunited with her mother after the War. Renate searches for answers about her birth, and her SS father—struggling to come to terms with the horrors of the past, and her conflicted feelings over her parentage. A powerful story of resolution, forgiveness and forging your distinct identity (not holding onto the past, or claiming the actions of others): http://youtu.be/eDiOYLbiyp8

      Eight People, Products of the Lebensborn Program to Propagate Aryan Traits, Met to Exchange their Stories. By Mark Lander, 11/7/2006 (The New York Times): http://isurvived.org/InTheNews/Children_of_Lebensborn.html

      “Germany’s Forgotten Children” by Pascal Pfitzenmaier (DW): http://www.dw.de/germanys-forgotten-children/a-1504125

      (Video) Mama Mia: ABBA Star’s Nazi Father. ABBA singer Frida thought her father was dead, in her 30’s Frida learns her father was an SS officer, and she was born as part of the Lebensborn program: http://youtu.be/KhAIgwTC6kM

Comments are welcome on FCI. We appreciated thoughtful and respectful comments/feedback that offers a variety of views. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and belong to the respective commentor. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comments for suitability and may remove or edit comments that contain abusive or offensive language, images, links or accusations. Comments may also be removed if they contain personal information, identifying information or sensitive details about your location, case, minor children, those involved in your case. Please do not post full articles from other sites, as it could be a violation of copyright or intellectual property laws. Thanks for visiting!!

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