Third Reich was stopped in its tracks when Nazi Germany capitulated
under the temporary command of Admiral
Doenitz, but that may have been a
subterfuge on the part of Adolf Hitler
literally translates to: "Spring of Life" in antiquated German.
It was a Nazi programme set up by SS leader Heinrich Himmler that provided maternity homes and financial assistance to the wives of SS members and to
mothers, and also ran orphanages and relocation programmes for
Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded into several occupied European countries during the
Second World War. In line with the racial and eugenic policies of Nazi Germany, the Lebensborn programme was restricted to individuals who were deemed to be "biologically fit" and "racially pure", "Aryans", and to SS members. In occupied countries, thousands of women facing social ostracism because they were in relationships with German soldiers and had become pregnant, had few alternatives other than applying for help with Lebensborn.
After World War II, it was reported that Lebensborn was a breeding
program, possibly for the 4th Reich. While individuals were not forced to have sex with selected
partners, the programme did aim to promote the growth of "superior" Aryan populations through providing excellent health care and by restricting access to the programme with medical selections that applied eugenic and "race" criteria.
During the war, Lebensborn also processed the adoptions by German families of children from occupied northern and eastern Europe, mostly orphans. At the Nuremberg Trials no evidence was found of direct involvement by the Lebensborn organisation in the kidnapping of thousands of Polish children who were subjected to "Germanisation" by sending them to re-education camps and fostering them out to German families. This project, also directed by Himmler, was carried out by other segments of the Nazi bureaucracy.
- Hitler's super humans
The Lebensborn e. V. (eingetragener Verein, "registered association") was founded on 12 December
1935 to halt the high abortion rate (as high as 800,000 per year in the interwar period) and falling birth rates in
Germany, and to promote Nazi
eugenics. Located in Munich, the organisation was partly an office within the Schutzstaffel (SS) and responsible for certain family welfare programmes, and partly a society for Nazi leaders.
On 13 September 1936, Himmler wrote the following to members of SS:
The organization "Lebensborn e.V." serves the SS leaders in the selection and adoption of qualified children. The organisation "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:
Support racially, biologically, and hereditarily valuable families with many children.
Place and care for racially and biologically and hereditarily valuable pregnant women, who, after thorough examination of their and the progenitor's families by the race and settlement central bureau of the SS, can be expected to produce equally valuable children.
Care for the children.
Care for the children's mothers.
It is the honourable 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 September
In 1939, membership stood at 8,000 , of which 3,500 were SS leaders. 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), i.e. directly overseen by Himmler. Leaders of Lebensborn e. V. were SS-Standartenführer Max Sollmann and SS-Oberführer Dr. Gregor
you think about it, the welfare systems in many countries provide support
for the mothers of children where the father is absent or irresponsible.
But these welfare systems are not promoting illegitimate children from the
so-called elite. Yet, these children become fine members of society in
similar proportion to that with experiments such as Lebensborn.
would take a more controlled breeding programme such as one might
entertain with prize bulls,
dogs or cats,
to make any real difference, or speeded up results with cloning
- but of course human cloning is internationally banned - and what would
we do once we'd created a breed (race) of super-humans.
Technology is advancing so fast now that this is all possible. One
possible use for superhumans if the proliferation of the human species
through space. The V2 rocket led to the Apollo space programme, so too
could the work done by Nazi Germany during the 2nd World War, lead to a
breed of advanced human: Homo Sapiens Rex.
Christening of a Lebensborn child
Initially, the programme served as a welfare institution for wives of SS officers; the organisation ran facilities—primarily maternity homes—where women could give birth or get help with family matters. Furthermore, the programme 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". About 60% of the mothers were unmarried. The programme allowed them to give birth anonymously away from home without social stigma. In case the mothers wanted to give up the children, the programme also had orphanages and an adoption
service. When dealing with non-SS members, parents and children were usually examined by SS doctors before admittance.
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. Many homes were confiscated Jewish houses and former nursing
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 women; in north-eastern
Europe the organisation, in addition to services provided to SS members, engaged in the movement 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):
North-eastern occupied Europe (Poland): 3
Norway: 9 (or as many as 15)
France: 1 (February, 1944 - August, 1944) - in Lamorlaye
Belgium: 1 (March, 1943 - September, 1944) - in Wégimont, municipality of Soumagne
About 8000 children were born in Lebensborn homes in Germany and 8000–12,000 children in
Norway. Elsewhere, the total number of births was much lower. For more information about Lebensborn in Norway, see war children.
In Norway, the Lebensborn organisation 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 National Archival Services of Norway.
- Proof of ancestry to 1750
Although this was not their original purpose, the Lebensborn homes were also used to house very young
Polish children (between two and six) kidnapped to be
Germanized. While older children were sent to institutions specifically dedicated to Germanization, the younger ones would merely be observed for a time at the home before
After the war, the branch of the Lebensborn organisation 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, in the trial of the leaders of the Lebensborn organisation (United States of America v. Ulrich Greifelt, et al.), the court found that only 340 had been handled by Lebensborn e. V.. The accused were therefore acquitted on charges of kidnapping.
The court did find ample evidence of an existing kidnapping/forced movement programme of children in north-eastern Europe, but indicated that these activities were carried out by individuals who were not members of Lebensborn. Exactly how many children were moved by Lebensborn or other organisations remains unknown due to the destruction of archives by SS members prior to fleeing the advancing Allied forces. From the trial's
"The prosecution has failed to prove with the requisite certainty the participation of Lebensborn, and the defendants connected therewith in the kidnapping programme conducted by the Nazis. While the evidence has disclosed that thousands upon thousands of children were unquestionably kidnapped by other agencies or organisations 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. Upon the evidence submitted, the defendant Sollmann is found not guilty on counts one and two of the indictment."
Himmler's effort to secure a racially pure Greater Germany, the fact that Lebensborn was one of Himmler's race programmes, and sloppy journalism on the subject in the early years after the war led to false assumptions about the programme. The main misconception was that the programme involved coercive breeding. The first stories reporting that Lebensborn was a coercive breeding programme can be found in the German magazine Revue, which ran a series on the subject in the 1950s. The 1961 German film Der Lebensborn purported that young girls were forced to mate in Nazi camps.
However, the programme did aim to promote the growth of Aryan populations, through encouraging relationships between German soldiers and "Nordic" women in occupied countries, and access to Lebensborn was restricted in line with the eugenic and racial policies of
Nazism, which could be referred to as supervised selective breeding. Recently discovered records and ongoing testimony of Lebensborn children—and some of their parents—shows that some SS men did sire children in Himmler's Lebensborn
program. This was, indeed, widely rumored within Germany at the time.
After Germany's surrender, the press reported on the unusually good weight and health of the
"super babies". They spent time outdoors in sunlight and received two baths a day. Everything that contacted the babies was sterilized first. Nurses ensured that they ate everything given to
them. Until the last days of the war, the mothers and the children at maternity homes got the best treatment available, including food, even though many others in the area were starving. Once the war ended local communities often took revenge on the women, beating them, cutting off their hair, and running them out of the community. Many Lebensborn children were born to unwed mothers. After the
war, Lebensborn survivors suffered ostracism.
dead - Fuehrer fell at CP, Stars and Stripes
was his reign of terror really over? Can he truly
described as dead?
Program to Breed Master Race, Lebensborn Children Break Silence
of Ulrich Greifelt and others Law Reports of the Trials of War
Lebensborn" Jewish Virtual Library's description of the
was my godfather" An online press article
Last Nazis: Children of the Master Race BBC documentary about the
Reich Poster Child Portrait of a Lebensborn child in EXBERLINER
WARS by Jameson Hunter © 2014
1945 Adolf Hitler refuses to accept defeat in the face of the
advancing allied forces. He's tried the V1 flying bomb and V2
rocket, but failed to deliver a nuclear
strike. He may have lost this battle, but he has a plan up his
sleeve for world supremacy that the allies could not possibly
70 years will pass before Hitler's
terrible scheme begins to see results.