Lebensborn Program

Question:

I just wanted to know, why the Lebensborn program wasn't mentioned in the outline of your works? It is an interesting part of the holocaust which I am researching and I would just like to know how could I tie this in with genocide. I know that the Lebensborn program was created to replace the Jews who were executed, but I'm having trouble with connecting the two. I have a project due tomorrow I was wondering whether or not you would be able to help me tie these two together. I don't know how soon you would be willing to help but a reply is necessary.

Yale F. Edeiken answers:

I am one of the volunteers who answer questions for The Holocaust History Project, Inc. and I would like to thank you for your question. We have no direct material on the Lebensborn because we are a group of volunteers posting the material that we write ourselves rather than professionals systematically writing about the Holocaust. The reason we have published no material on the Lebensborn is not because we consider it unimportant, but because no-one has been motivated to research and write about it.

As you know the Lebensborn program had two main components. The first was the encourgagement of non-marital pregnancies between Aryan youths with the off-spring rasied as Nordic supermen. The second, and more disturbing aspect of the program was the kidnapping of children from occupied territories and the distribution of these children to "aryan" families. During this program about 200,000 children were kidnapped from Poland. It is estiamated that about 50,000 Ukrainian children were kidnapped and about 50,000 from the Baltic regions. Even countries like Norway and France were not immune from such kidnappings and most of the children that survived the Lidice massacre (Czechoslavakia) were taken into the Lebensborn Even worse, the parents and siblings of kidnapped children were occasionally murdered or sent to concentration camps.

After the war only a small portion of such kidnapped chilren were traced and returned to their homelands. Only 30-40,000 of the kidnapped Polich children were returned.

Where you are incorrect is your belief that the program was established to replace "Jews" in captured territotries. The intentions of the Nazis was far broader than that. First, it seems to jave been a direct outgrowth f the basic philosophy of National Socialism and meant to increase the vitality of the "Aryan" race. Second, the plan of Himmler, who ordered the program, and the other Nazis was depopulate the eastern territories of EVERYONE there (except for those kept as serfs) and the repopulate with "Aeyans." In a sense the Lebensborn program was part of this plot but is, in no way, the complete reason it was established. It was consdiered so basic to Nazi racial philosophy that at the end of the war Lebensborn facilities were moved to the area in Bavaria where a final Nazi stronghold was planned.

One of the best reference books on the Lebensborn program is "Of Pure Blood" Marc Hillel and Clarissa Henry (1976). While this book is now out of print you should be able to find it at or through (by loan) your local library.

Other members of our organization may be able to help you with other references or information but I hope this helps you in your research.

--Yale F. Edeiken

The Holocaust History Project, Inc.

Question:

Dear Team, I am a 17 year old Australian student who is doing a major research work on the Lebensborn program. I have been faced with little objective accounts that have caused me to question the usefullness and reliabilty of all the other sources i have. Considering I live in Australia the amount of useful works are limited to a high school student. Therefore most of my research is compiled of internet sources. I would like to know your own opinions on the Lebensborn program from historical, scientific, moral and contemporary perspectives. I do not believe in Nazi/religious/moral bashing...i just want to know if you find any aspects of the Lebensborn to have negative or positive affects. Also i would like to hear your own perspectives on why the Lebensborn program is unheard of in most history books as i find it quite an interesting topic. My focus is this, why Lebensborn has been avoided in historical accounts of Nazi history. Thankyou for any help you are able to supply to me.

Harry W. Mazal OBE Responds:

Thank you for your recent query.

I am one of the persons in the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our readers. It is possible that you will receive other responses from my colleagues.

While the information you are seeking might not be readily available in Australia, I respectfully submit that there is an enormous amount of information available on the Lebensborn program that you can access on the Internet, that there are vast numbers of references to Lebensborn in scholarly texts, and that a major war crime trial was carried out in Germany after the Second World War where many pf the perpetrators were accused and sentenced.

You might start by reading an earlier response on this subject by my colleague, Yale Edeiken, a legal scholar who has investigated the Lebensborn Project:

http://www.holocaust-history.org/questions/lebensborn.shtml

The laws creating the program is described in Volume 4 of "Trials of War Criminals before Nuernberg Military Tribunals. This particular trial was known as the "RuSHA Case":

"The "RuSHA Case" is officially designated United States of America vs. Ulrich Greifelt, et al (Case 8). "RuSHA" is the German abbreviation of "Rasse - und Siedlungshauptamt Race and Settlement Main Office), an SS agency which played a very important role in the case."

You may see all of Volume IV by selecting:

http://www.mazal.org/NMT-HOME.htm

Or you can read some of the information regarding the Lebensborn program as it appears in the Introduction on pages 635

http://www.mazal.org/archive/nmt/04a/NMT04-T0635.htm

You can also read an ongoing discussion about this program at:

http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~german/discuss/other/lebensborn.htm

An article published in "Newsweek" offers another view:

http://www.rickross.com/reference/hate_groups/hategroups164.html

The BBC has published a review concerning the shameful Lebensborn program in Norway:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/audiovideo/programmes/crossing_continents/newsid_1691000/1691452.stm

Finally, a book available in most public libraries deals with the subject in detail:

Master race : the Lebensborn experiment in Nazi Germany by Catrine Clay Hodder & Stoughton; ISBN: 0340589787

The above is just a small sampling, but it should suffice for your purposes. I hope that you have found this to be a useful response.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE

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