Die Schatten der Vergangenheit Impulse zur Historisierung des Nationalsozialismus
See Franz W. Seidlers Chapter, Lebensborn e.V. der SS. Vom Gerücht zur Legende: S. 291
Here's an English translation of this chapter, it will not be perfect, but it should be readable.
From rumor to legend
The "Lebensborn eV" was one of many measures of the Third Reich to promote birth growth. The birth rate in Germany had fallen rapidly since the First World War, from 894978 in 1920 to 516793 in 1932. No other industrialized country had such a slump in birth statistics 
To counteract this development, the National Socialist People's Welfare was founded(NSV) in March 1934 the relief organization "mother and child" . The »Deutsches Institut nur Jugendhilfe e. V., under the direction of Heinrich Webler, looked after illegitimate children whose fathers refused to pay the child support. Marriages were only supported with loans in the form of demand coverage certificates for furniture and household items up to RM 1,000.00 . Young women who wanted to pursue a career were referred to their opportunities for development in the family. Marriage was considered the "nucleus of national life". In pseudo-Christian terminology, the family was called a "folk sacrament" . Divorces were only approved if, in contrast to the previous children, the new partner could be expected. The marriage law of July 7, 1938 recognized infertility as a new reason for divorce. The courts' practice gave priority to the recording of "völkisch valuable marriages" over the maintenance of broken marriages . In order to promote the social recognition of unmarried mothers, the title "woman" was legally prescribed for her in May 1937 . Reproductive power and willingness to reproduce should be protected as part of the proposed amendment to criminal law; the following wording was provided for section 50 of the Criminal Code: "Anyone who publicly paralyzes or decomposes the will of the German people for fertility is punished with prison." Conti considered, was rejected in the SS "as an encroachment on a sacred act, reserved only for nature and its work".
In 1934, Himmler became aware of the problem of abortion in his role as head of the German police force. The number of those convicted by law under Section 218 RS StGB - 1935: 3055, 1936: 5337, 1937: 6362, 1939: 7670, 1939: 5337 - said little because the number of unreported cases was very high. The estimates were up to 800,000 a year . Himmler saw an essential reason in the ostracism to which illegitimate mothers were exposed to their relatives and acquaintances.
To protect these women, a dozen SS leaders of the "Lebensborn eV" were founded on December 12, 1935 "at the instigation of the Reichsführer-SS". The legal form of the registered association was chosen in order to be able to regulate the membership of members and to keep the association open to non-SS members, although the board consisted exclusively of SS leaders. Membership was mandatory for all higher SS leaders. They had to identify themselves ex officio with the ideas of the Lebensborn. According to the statutes, the association had a double task, on the one hand, "to support the wealth of children in the SS", and on the other hand, "to protect and look after every mother of good blood and to take care of needy mothers and children of good blood") [ 11]. To make sure If pregnant women who were not married, the father also met the racial criteria of National Socialism, the producers had to be ready to face a "racial biological examination". Women with changing sexual intercourse had no chance of being admitted to a home because the paternity could not be determined with certainty. »If the father is of good blood and also the mother-to-be, we can certainly expect an inheritance-healthy, valuable child from the two and for this child this mother must be helped; for even today, the most widely held moral view is that in the young girl who is to become a mother, one does not see the mother of a healthy child, but one sees in him only the fallen girl, about whom her own parents and relatives are concerned ,
In the summer of 1936, the first Lebensborn home was opened in a former Caritas children's home in Steinhoring near Munich. It was given the name "Heim Hochland" and, after the renovation, offered space for 55 mothers. The general practitioner Dr. Ebner from Kirchseeon in the neighborhood of the home became the first Lebensborn doctor and eventually became the medical director of the entire Lebensborn. In 1945 he was the SS leader in the highest SS rank in Lebensborn. Since January 1938 the Lebensborn eV was under the personal staff of the "Reichsführer-SS" Heinrich Himmler. By the beginning of the Second World War, he had six maternity homes with a total of 263 beds for those who gave birth and 487 beds for children. According to Himmler's ideas, at least 24 new homes should be added in the next few years .
All women and brides of SS men and members of the police were admitted to the homes for delivery without reservation, because they basically brought the "racial requirements" with them. Strict selection was made for unmarried women who had not been pregnant by SS men. Only 40 out of 100 applications were considered . Only illegitimate mothers of "good blood" were entitled to the protection of the Lebensborn. Single mothers could be admitted to the Lebensborn homes as soon as their pregnancy was visible. You should be given the opportunity to escape "social ostracism" and be prepared to lose your job as a teacher, nurse, sales assistant. The Lebensborn was the only organization able to guarantee the secrecy of a delivery. Our own registry offices and police registration offices in the Lebensborn homes ensured that the mother's home community, which otherwise would have been informed of the fact of the birth by the youth welfare office, could not hear anything. The medical care in the Lebensborn homes was so good that more and more wives of SS leaders only registered for childbirth. While the infant mortality rate in the empire average was six percent, it was only half in the Lebensborn. During the war, numerous women from SS and police members who lived in bomb-prone areas also sought out the Lebensborn homes for a quiet delivery. It so happened that the number of SS women and unmarried mothers in the homes was about the same. that the mother's home church, which otherwise would have found out about the birth through the youth welfare office, did not hear anything. The medical care in the Lebensborn homes was so good that more and more wives of SS leaders only registered for childbirth. While the infant mortality rate in the empire average was six percent, it was only half in the Lebensborn. During the war, numerous women from SS and police members who lived in bomb-prone areas also sought out the Lebensborn homes for a quiet delivery. It so happened that the number of SS women and unmarried mothers in the homes was about the same. that the mother's home church, which otherwise would have found out about the birth through the youth welfare office, did not hear anything. The medical care in the Lebensborn homes was so good that more and more wives of SS leaders only registered for childbirth. While the infant mortality rate in the empire average was six percent, it was only half in the Lebensborn. During the war, numerous women from SS and police members who lived in bomb-prone areas also sought out the Lebensborn homes for a quiet delivery. It so happened that the number of SS women and unmarried mothers in the homes was about the same. that more and more wives of SS leaders only registered for childbirth. While the infant mortality rate in the empire average was six percent, it was only half in the Lebensborn. During the war, numerous women from SS and police members who lived in bomb-prone areas also sought out the Lebensborn homes for a quiet delivery. It so happened that the number of SS women and unmarried mothers in the homes was about the same. that more and more wives of SS leaders only registered for childbirth. While the infant mortality rate in the empire average was six percent, it was only half in the Lebensborn. During the war, numerous women from SS and police members who lived in bomb-prone areas also sought out the Lebensborn homes for a quiet delivery. It so happened that the number of SS women and unmarried mothers in the homes was about the same.
The Lebensborn took over guardianship for all illegitimate children born in his homes and ensured that these children could stay in the home even after the mother was released. If it turned out that the unmarried women could not marry and have the child, after a year these children were given to childless or poor families by SS leaders for care. Despite the numerous inquiries from childless couples, very few of the infants born in Lebensbornheimen were released for adoption because the mothers generally did not want to lose their children. By September 1939, only six women were willing to do so . In order to promote the family ties father-mother-child, the Lebensborn provided for dismissed mothers, if they wanted to return to their job, suitable jobs near the father . The Lebensborn also ensured that the fathers met their financial obligations. If SS men had illegitimate children, the Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be seen as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: The Lebensborn also ensured that the fathers met their financial obligations. If SS men had illegitimate children, the Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be seen as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: The Lebensborn also ensured that the fathers met their financial obligations. If SS men had illegitimate children, the Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be seen as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: that the fathers met their financial obligations. If SS men had illegitimate children, the Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be regarded as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: that the fathers met their financial obligations. If SS men had illegitimate children, the Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be regarded as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be regarded as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: Lebensborn immediately paid the child allowance to the mother and demanded the sum back from the SS administration office. From there the illegitimate fathers were asked to pay. When the delinquent payers were discussed on the board of the Lebensborn, SS Obergruppenführer Pohl said: »Life must not be made too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be regarded as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: “You can't make life too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be regarded as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes: “You can't make life too easy for illegitimate fathers. You should get it properly. This is a matter of educating the protection squadron. That must be regarded as the grossest violation of the spirit of the SS. « The evaluation of a 5-month statistic in 1941/42 gave the following picture about the conditions in the Lebensborn homes:
59.6% were illegitimate mothers, 29.1% were unmarried children and 30.5% were married. In 85.8% of cases, the child's mother and 80% of the child's father requested confidentiality. That was 43.1% of all home admissions. 46.2% of the producers recognized paternity. 4.1% of home admissions resulted in marriages.
As a rule, mothers giving birth to the mother were released together with their child after 45 days. When illegitimate mothers left the home, it was usually after 88 days, while the child stayed in the home for 297 days. The average age of the child mothers was 25.6 years. Almost half were commercial employees (40.5%) and 25.2% were unemployed. Of the fathers, 25.8% came from full-time SS members, 12.1% from the Wehrmacht, 5.9% from full-time party members, 13.5% from senior civil servants and academics. Of the child mothers, 48% were Protestant, 19% were Catholic and 33% believed in God. Of the fathers, 32% were Protestant, 14% Catholic and 53% godly. According to the SS questionnaires, 68.7% of the mothers complied with the racial selection principle of the SS. The figure for the fathers was 73.3%. The Lebensborn took over guardianship in 36.2% of the births. Only 6.3% of newborns were released for adoption. This means that only every tenth application by married couples for adoption children could be satisfied .
Between 1936 and 1945, around 12,000 children were born in the Lebensborn homes of the Reich. Only about half of them were married.
In the occupied areas of Western and Northern Europe, the Lebensborn took on new tasks during the Second World War. The "Ordinance on the Care of Children of German Wehrmacht Members in the Occupied Territories", which Hitler issued on July 28, 1942, was drafted without the involvement of Lebensborn, but it enabled him to "preserve and promote racially valuable Germanic heritage" turn on. When the driver's decree was extended to the children of all Reich Germans in February 1943, the Lebensborn was given the right to care for all illegitimate children who were conceived by Germans in Norway. Norwegian women who were ready to give birth to their child in Germany could be brought to a Lebensborn home in the Reich. Around 2500 made use of it. For the others, nine life homes were set up in Norway. 6500 women gave birth to their children there .
In the occupied Netherlands, the Lebensborn met more reservations than in Norway. Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart was less accommodating than Terboven in giving the Lebensborn opportunities for action. He feared the increase in SS powers. Until the Allied invasion in June 1944, the association was unable to establish a single home of its own. All Dutch women who turned to Lebensborn for the birth of their illegitimate children, whom they had received from occupation soldiers, had to be brought to Germany. Lebensborn's efforts to gain a foothold in Denmark were as fruitless as in Holland.
Different in Belgium. In the Lebensborn home, which was set up in March 1943 under the name "Ardennes" in Wegimont near Liège, 20 "expectant mothers of Germanic blood, [...] who are members of the German Wehrmacht or foreign members of German aid organizations who are Germanic blood" were able to receive children had to be accommodated.
The soldier children in occupied France - up to 50,000 by May 1943 - were taken over by the widow of the French general Huntzinger, with the aim of achieving their integration into French society despite all hostility from the civilian population. Himmler saw "valuable German blood" slip away. In order to win the children for Germany, he had the Menier Castle near Chantilly set up under the name »Westwald« at the end of 1943 as a Lebensborn home .
There were no life homes in the occupied eastern territories. The establishment of a house in Krakow, the seat of the governor general, failed due to resistance from the Reich Health Leader Dr. Conti. He feared the SS's intrusion into his medical responsibilities . When trying to exert influence in the occupied Polish territories within the framework of National Socialist politics, the Lebensborn encountered the NSV's claim that it should "foreign" children of foreign ethnic groups on its own. In the Warthegau alone, the NSV built 600 kindergartens for 12,000 children under the direction of the »Relief Organization Mother and Child« by the end of 1942. Special maternity facilities were set up for children of German Wehrmacht members. It was only with the full authority of Himmler that Lebensborn was able to occupy at least smaller activities in occupied areas of Poland. He took care of orphans and foster children between the ages of two and six who allegedly came from murdered ethnic German parents and were said to have been hidden as foundlings under Polish names in Polish orphanages and families before or during the outbreak of war . Since all pedigree documents had been destroyed, these children could only be identified on the basis of their "racial appearance" and "brought to Germanism". That was the task of the SS Race and Settlement Office. At the end of 1942, the first transports with such children appeared in the Hochland and Pomeranian homes. A year later, a home was opened for these so-called “Eastern Children” in Oberweiß near Gmünden am Traunsee under the name “Alpenland”. Those who were adopted by German families were given the names of the new parents. A total of 250-300 children from Poland were affected by the Lebensborn Germanization campaign . In addition, there were some children from Southeast Europe whose fathers were shot as partisans and whose mothers were sent to concentration camps .
By participating in the Germanization of children from the occupied eastern territories, the Lebensborn had moved away from the original provisions of its statutes. Actually, only with the illegitimate children born in the homes should a new "Born of Life" be created, from which a "select youth, valuable in body and spirit, the nobility of the future" should emerge .
The Lebensborn did not care about the children of foreign forced laborers in Germany who were "carriers of partly German and tribal blood" and were considered "valuable". It was up to the NSV. They were assigned to so-called "child care centers for foreigners" . Only very few "mothers of particularly great racial value who met the Lebensborn conditions" were able to give birth to their children in Lebensborn homes. The takeover of the children of these handful of foreign forced laborers in the care of the Lebensborn was "as with the German women" only possible with the consent of the mother ". No case is known that the child was taken away from a mother .
In line with the efforts for unmarried mothers, Himmler also campaigned for illegitimate children, of course only for those who met the racial criteria of National Socialism. He tried to improve their legal situation in agreement with the Reich Minister of the Interior. In a letter dated July 27, 1939, Himmler shared his opinion that the position of illegitimate children was not only "in need of improvement" from a legal point of view, "but that it was even more important to provide them with the same conditions of existence in day-to-day life as legitimate children «. It should not be overlooked, however, that "for a long time to come, it will still be difficult to dispel the prejudices against illegitimate children that exist among the people. For the time being, the problem to be solved must therefore be to enable illegitimate children to hide their illegitimate birth from uninvited persons. Frick proposed that racial-political clarification of the lineage of illegitimate children be avoided because this would raise the question of paternity . For school purposes, an abbreviated birth certificate was to be issued that did not indicate the illegitimate birth . To alleviate the maladministration of the illegitimacy of even children of fallen soldiers, if they had not deposited their marriage consent with the battalion commander before death, the easing of the civil status regulations should be remedied. A simple explanation from the child's father that he was willing to marry
After the war, the Lebensborn was tried before the American Military Court I in Nuremberg as "Case Eight" from October 10, 1947 to March 10, 1948. 14 officials of the Race and Settlement Office, the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the Lebensborn were charged with crimes against humanity, in particular the kidnapping of children of foreign peoples, in order to select those who were considered racially valuable to be German only because of the removal of Children for the purpose of exterminating or Germanizing eastern workers and for looting public and private property in Germany and in the incorporated and occupied areas. The prosecution representatives, Telford Taylor and James M. McHaney, made the Lebensborn e. V. as a whole, as an institution, only the crimes responsible for weakening enemy nations and increasing the population of the German Reich. The Lebensborn also took over Jewish and Polish hospitals and confiscated Jewish apartments and goods. The verdict after a six-month trial lasted astonished the public above all as far as Lebensborn eV was concerned. All of the accused were acquitted of their Lebensborn activities. The reasoning stated: All of the accused were acquitted of their Lebensborn activities. The reasoning stated: All of the accused were acquitted of their Lebensborn activities. The reasoning stated:
“It is clear from the evidence that the Lebensborn association, which existed long before the war, was a charity and primarily a maternity home. From the very beginning, he cared for the mother, the married as well as the unmarried, as well as the marital and illegitimate children. The prosecution failed to prove with certainty the participation of the Lebensborn and the accused in connection with the kidnapping program carried out by the Nazis […] The Lebensborn generally did not select and check any foreign children. In all cases in which foreign children were handed over to the Lebensborn by other organizations after being selected and checked, the children were well cared for and never treated badly in any way. It is clear from the evidence that the Lebensborn, among the numerous organizations in Germany dealing with foreign children brought to Germany, was the only agency that did everything in its power to provide adequate care to the children to let and protect the legal interests of the children under his care. «
The activities of the Lebensborn from 1936 to 1945 and the judgment of the military court actually make it incomprehensible why the Lebensborn is represented up to the present day as an institution that served as the primary for "breeding" and "breeding refinement" . BDM girls and RAD-Maiden who "wanted to give the Fiihrer a child" had met selected SS soldiers in the Lebensborn homes to father children in the care of the Nordic blood. Of those born in the Lebensborn homes, thousands were passed on to SS families for adoption. Lebensborn also participated in the Germanization program for Polish and Yugoslav children. There is talk of 100,000 to 200,000. Eastern workers in Germany who resisted an abortion, the children were snatched from the Lebensborn, to make Germans out of them . However, the most eager to report on the functions of the Lebensborn as a place of procreation and "breeding place" was only for Nordic elite people. There were no limits to the imagination.
In the book "Follow my Leader" by Louis Hagen, the procedure only looked about the mothers in Upper Bavaria who were selected as "broodmares" in such a way that "the person concerned had to wait in the Tegernsee youth hostel until the 10th day after the start of her period, was then examined by a doctor and then slept with an SS man who also had to fulfill his duty with another girl. After the pregnancy had been determined, she had the choice of either returning home or going to the maternity home immediately. «
In the book "Das ist Germany", Judy Barden describes the encounter with remaining pregnant women "who wanted to give the Fiihrer a child" immediately after the capitulation in a Lebensborn home in May 1945:
“What they had to report was just devastating […] Their goal in life was to propagate their way. They were ideal types who originally volunteered for this job. Once they passed the health, beauty, and feminine rounds test, they were sent to various officer rest homes and stayed there until they were pregnant. It was that simple. When the time came, they were provided with every luxury that was still available in Germany at the time. The care they were given was infinitely better than that of the mother of a marital child. They helped create a strong Germany. They were proud of their profession and completely indifferent to the fact
In 1958, the magazine "Revue" published a ten-part report about Lebensborn eV with the subtitle "What millions didn't know reveals for millions". The author Will Berthold said: »This is not a novel. What is written here is hard to grasp. ”In reality it was nothing but a novel. Almost all statements about the Lebensborn were incorrect. Taking the love of two young people as an example, the Lebensborn was to be unmasked as an inhuman forced childbirth facility, where the children were taken away from all the mothers who only made themselves available to the company. He was the terminus of a facility that carried out Himmler's order to "father the illegitimate child on schedule. How to make cars. How to breed poultry on the chicken farm «.
This presentation was used by the film producer Arthur Brauner for his Lebensborn film, which was shown in 1961 with great success in German and foreign cinemas. His action is further from the truth than the novel. The first scene of this film begins as follows: A beefy SS Obersturmbannführer builds up in front of a group of half-naked BDM girls. "Comrades," he snarled, "are you really Nazis? With a hot heart? With total devotion? "" Yes! The Maiden shout. »Thank you comrades! If you sign on a list now, you are chosen to start a new breed and give the guide a child. ”The girls hurry to a table to sign on the breeding list.
The content of the film was propagated in the »Illustrierte-Filmbühne« as follows: »Sadistic sick brains had the idea of the Lebensborn during the millennial empire, which attempted to put the concept of the geological propagation of the Germanic noble race over the love of two people. A group of very young people from the Federation of German Girls has also reported to this institution in an exuberant exuberance and is taking part in a so-called course on the renewal of purebred Germanism at Sternberg Castle in Warthegau. These BDM girls were selected to give birth to racially valuable children who, like light bearers, were to guarantee the future of the people.Spiegel published a benevolent review of this film under the meaningful title "Bride of the Fiihrer" . Die Zeit even claimed that the film was based on 150 original documents from the Munich Institute only contemporary history, from which it follows that in the Lebensborn "racially valuable human material for the purpose of breeding a Nordic breed of character and above all hereditary biological value was gathered together [...]" 
The legend continued to grow. Journalists Marc Hillel and Clarissa Henry presented the Lebensborn in 1975 in their pseudo-scientific book »Lebensborn e. V. In the name of the breed. «Assuming that the NS terminology very often obscured facts, eg. For example, when "special treatment" meant instruction in a concentration camp or even murder, the two French interpreted the language used in the nursing homes in their way. By "sisters" they simply understood "childbearing assistants" who had agreed to be an illegitimate child to get. They were even demonstrated by living witnesses: a couple who had lived in Ismaningerstrasse 95 in Munich since the Second World War confirmed that their house had been an officers' club during the war, in which new girls kept coming in and out, who had only been selected for breeding purposes by the Lebensborn headquarters. Based on such questionable statements and with the help of conceptual reinterpretations, a presentation emerged that made French television the basis of a documentary film .
The second German television bought the film and beamed it on May 23, 1975 under the title »... to give the guide a child. Lebensborn e. V. - Hitler's breeding grounds for Aryan offspring «. The television magazine Gong praised the film as follows: »Report on the Nazi Lebensborn. At the instigation of Himmler, Lebensborn eV was founded in 1936 - a Nazi organization for raising ›racially and genetically healthy children‹. Ingrid de Fouw from France is one of those who were fathered and born in Lebensborn-Heimen at that time. In the search for her identity, she found out with the help of the Red Cross that she was the daughter of an SS man and a Swede. «
The legend of Lebensborn as a breeding facility can also be found in popular science literature. The Zeit-Bild edition "The Second World War" outlines the Lebensborn in the following words: "The Lebensborn homes [...] also accept women who secretly give birth to their illegitimate child while their men fight on the front lines. But it is more important to bring together people who are found suitable for breeding the "new race". «
In a treatise on National Socialism published only by the Bavarian State Center for Political Education, it still says in 1989: »Since 1936, fourteen homes have been founded under the name› Lebensborn eV ‹, which were used for breeding› racially and genetically valuable children. These homes were home to 'racially and biologically valuable' mothers who were not married. The children born by them were to be adopted by SS families, because the task of the association was to demand the wealth of children in the SS. « The Statute of Lebensborn eV, which is printed on this, does not make this statement derive .
Even a serious historian like Michael Kater claimed: "In direct application of genetic theories, Himmler sought to breed types with Greek noses in the Lebensborn."  Another historian believed to be able to prove that the Lebensborn had "similar human breeding goals" as the Hegehöfe in Darres Plans, "but in a different spirit" . The book »Seerets of the SS« is a very blatant example of the widespread misconception about the Lebensborn:
»The program of the Lebensborn, the breeding facility that Himmler had set up in 1936 to increase the birth rate of the super breed, was further proof only of the feeling of bankruptcy of the SS. The basic idea of the program was to choose ideal women and to encourage them to have sexual intercourse with members of the To drive SS, which was considered the racial and political elite of the empire. The pregnant women were housed in mother houses that Himmler had built all over the country; there, women were given preferential medical care until the birth of their children. After birth, they received special government grants. The children were carefully looked after, because one day they should become the model burghers of the millennium. «
Such representations, which were particularly widespread in the media of the victorious powers, had their apparent justification in the following hypotheses: The Lebensborn had destroyed all incriminating documents at the end of the war in order to wash away. This claim is obviously wrong because more documents about the Lebensborn are available in the archives than from many other Nazi institutions. Secondly, the breeding theories that emerged in the literature of the Third Reich were transferred to the practice of the most radical National Socialist organization, namely the SS, using the sexual fantasy of the authors in a rough generalization.Thirdly, it was claimed that the post-war statements about the Lebensborn correspond to the truth because rumors of the Lebensborn were already circulating before 1945.
Rumor had it that the Lebensborn was in fact already during the Second World War. There were many rumors circulating in the special psychological situation of the war. The news restrictions on the one hand and the unilateral information policy of the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda on the other hand promoted the spread of even the most impossible speculation. Without word of mouth, rumors were an integral part of people's informal communication. Sometimes inconsistent facts condensed into rumors, sometimes reports of enemy propaganda from radio broadcasts or pamphlets were passed on, sometimes other people's reports became evidence of their own Information advantage adorned with your own ideas.
The rumors about the Lebensborn probably had different sources at the time. It could have happened that the Lebensborn's full-time staff leaked something out of the work of the institution despite the strict instructions on secrecy, which must have seemed all the more surprising to the audience because nothing was known about the Lebensborn in public . Himmler only wanted to go public with the Lebensborn when he had impressive successes. Up to this point, the Lebensborn should be treated as an SS internal matter, the progress of which has only been communicated to the top management of the SS. Any publication in the press was prohibited .
Some slogans about the Lebensborn could have been put into circulation by married women who had given birth to their children in Lebensborn homes and saw no reason to hide the place and circumstances of their childbirth as married couples and those who, unless they were bound by written declarations of confidentiality were making suggestions about the large number of unmarried mothers in the Lebensborn homes. Married and unmarried women did not always live together without complications. Both groups were treated equally. The married had to take off the wedding ring. All home inmates were addressed only with "woman" and first name. Any discrimination against the unmarried should be avoided. Above all, that didn't suit the wives of higher SS leaders. When an SS officer complained about the treatment of his wife in Steinhoring, he was instructed that the Lebensborn did not maintain his homes as cheap birth opportunities only for married SS women, "but that they primarily only provided the valuable illegitimate mothers" stand. Women from SS leaders could be accepted if they were willing to fit in with the home environment .
Individual SS leaders occasionally expressed dissatisfaction with the Lebensborn because the contributions that they had to make as compulsory members for the association could be considerable. The amount depended on the number of their own children. A single SS group leader was z. B. Retained eight percent of his wages per month, ie about 250 RM. At the end of 1939, of the 238,000 men in the SS, 15,777 were members of the Lebensborn eV, 3,851 higher SS leaders than compulsory members, 9,738 voluntary members from the General SS, 833 members from the German Police, 1,355 members from other SS organizations. Their contribution volume amounted to to 423,000 RM . Many of them could not see why there was so much secrecy around the Lebensborn. Especially in the disposal force, the later prevailed the view that "this organization was something dark and mysterious" . However, ambiguities were the best breeding ground for rumors.
Only very few SS men needed to use the Lebensborn to give birth to their extramarital children. Not even one percent of all children of married SS men came from extramarital relationships, out of a total of 12081 children only 135 . The situation was a little different for the premarital children. Himmler was annoyed to find in August 1939 that numerous marriage proposals by SS men were unprocessed in the Reich Security Main Office, which is why the marriages were delayed for months. Much of the marriage records were incomplete. The questionnaires overwhelmed many who wished to marry. The medical reports on the health of both partners and the production of the ancestral arch to determine the "racial unit" took a lot of time. This fact may only have given Himmler an order to fuel the rumors about the Lebensborn: in the second month of the war he issued an order for the entire SS and police, in which the men were asked "perhaps more necessary across borders." civil laws and habits «to care for young people. The SS would assume guardianship for all legitimate and illegitimate children who were conceived by SS men and whose father would fall in the war. Himmler promised to care for the expectant mother and for the children. The order ended with the appeal: "SS men and you mothers of these children hoped for by Germany show that you are just as brave in believing in the leader and in the will to eternal life of our blood and people,
The "deputy of the Fiihrer", Rudolf Hess, continued the campaign at party level. On December 24, 1939, he published the "Letter to an unmarried mother" in the "Völkischer Beobachter", in which he argued similarly to Himmler: "Aware that the National Socialist worldview gave the family the role it deserved in the state , in special times of emergency of the people, special measures deviating from the basic rules can be taken. Especially in war, which demands the death of many of the best men, every new life of special importance is only the nation. If, therefore, racially perfect young men who move into the field leave behind children who carry their blood on to future generations, children of girls of the same age who are also healthy in inheritance, with whom marriage is not immediately possible for any reason will ensure the preservation of this valuable national asset. Concerns that are justified in normal times must be left here. «
Such statements that offend Christian morality could not remain unchallenged even in a dictatorship if the churches did not want to give up on themselves. On Sunday, January 14, 1940, the Episcopal Pastoral Letter read out in the Catholic Church on the feast of the Holy Family on marriage responded to the calls to break the sixth commandment. The pastoral letter from Cardinal Faulhaber, Munich, said: "Nothing can change the God-intended order of Christian marriage preparation and marriage […] Chastity before marriage and adultery remain shame and serious sin at all times and under all circumstances."  Bishop Sproll von Rottenburg wrote in a pastoral letter: "The unfortunate children of our detention centers are living and sad witnesses of uncontrolled people,
The sexual freedom of movement that Himmler had recommended to police and SS members was also criticized in the Wehrmacht. Many soldiers saw this as an invitation to members of the SS to "approach the women of the soldiers standing in the field". On January 30, 1940, Himmler had to explain his order of October 28, 1939. He took it for granted that members of the Wehrmacht were spared the harassment of SS comrades. That is "the simplest and most natural comrade law" .
Adulterous soldiers could not be punished under military criminal law or the Special War Criminal Law Ordinance. The Wehrmacht legal department therefore instructed the military judges to take general criminal action if Wehrmacht members broke into the marriages of soldiers. The offense could be punished according to § 172 RStGB and the insult to the husband according to § 61 RStGB .
The Soviet leaflet propaganda took advantage of the fear of many Wehrmacht soldiers that their wife could only be the SS in their homeland of fair game. A leaflet that was dropped over the German lines in 1941 was unbelievable in its graphic design, but the text on the back aroused mistrust of Himmler and the SS, whose details at the back of the front, trespassing international law spread fear and terror to the civilian population, and they are therefore believed to have no meanness: "By order of Himmler, the SS men force your women, brides and sisters to enter into sexual intercourse with them and to give birth to illegitimate children."  From the attempt Sowing discord between the Wehrmacht and the SS did not stop the propaganda propaganda of the USSR until the end of the war. In one of the last leaflets that were dropped over Russian territory in 1944, it said: »German soldiers. You don't need a vacation, the SS satisfies your wives and brides! «
It was said in the population of the Reich that girls or women were occasionally approached by members of the Waffen-SS and asked for sexual intercourse based on an order from the Reichsführer-SS. At least one case is documented. A woman from Schwerin reported to the Gestapo:
»On Wednesday, February 16, 1944, around noon at 2:00 p.m., an SS member in a field-gray SS uniform, unknown to me, appeared in my apartment and asked me about the number of my children. I replied that I have two children. The man then replied that an SS man must have at least four children, this was an order. In addition, the Reichsführer-SS had ordered that all SS members were obliged to father extra-marital children. At my objections, I was then told that this was a national obligation. Nor can I derive a divorce suit from extramarital sex. When I started to cry on it, the stranger said that like I would have cried several SS women today. «
The Reich Labor Service for the female youth was also included in the rumor mill about the "population-political activities" of the SS. An SD report stated: “It is particularly popular on the Catholic side that the leaders of the female RAD had approached their working maids to persuade them that every working girl should give the leader a child for his birthday. The Waffen-SS was designed to father children with members of the female RAD. A girl had said that an attack was posted in her camp with the text: "40 working maids give the guide a child [...]" An evangelical pastor was imprisoned in Hamburg because he had spread the following rumor about visiting a patient: "In one The labor camp of the female labor service asked the camp leader the girls: Who of you wants to give Adolf Hitler a child? Only two girls had refused. An SS department entered the camp for the willing in the evening. "The pastor made his statements all the more credible since he claimed to have been informed of this incident by the daughter of one of his relatives, a member of the camp in question and one the rejecting girl was .
In March 1944, a senior army officer asked his brother, who served with the SS, for information about the reason for the following rumor that was circulating in Artillery School II in Groß-Born: "The SS is looking for healthy young girls who like children want to have, but do not want to get married, put them together and let them turn children to healthy and impeccable men. As soon as the children are born, they are taken away from the mother and brought up at the expense of the state [...] What is actually true about it? […] Because you can't suck something completely out of your fingers. ” Instead of saying an answer, the addressee forwarded the letter to the SD. The same thing happened with the letter from a woman who asked an SS office in Leipzig, "where the mating homes set up by the SS are located, especially around Lübeck «. You heard about it from a friend. The investigations that the SD subsequently undertook revealed that the rumor had come from an Air Force member whose interrogation had been ordered .
Himmler made no secret of his pleasure in the illegitimate children of his SS men. He set a good example himself. With his lover Hedwig Potthast, he fathered two children: Helge and Nanette Dorothea. Himmler also practiced as an advisor for illegitimate mothers and instructed the medical director of the Lebensborn, Dr. Ebner, to provide information just as readily when asked. In autumn 1943, Himmler had a correspondence with the Dutch baroness Jul op ten Noord about the impending birth of her illegitimate child, which she was expecting from a higher police officer. The following advice was given to her: »I suggest you go to one of our Lebensborn homes 1-2 months before the delivery and expect your baby there. The certification [...] that you have given birth to a child happens secretly.
In 1943 Himmler asked SS Obergruppenführer Sepp Dietrich about the illegitimate children of members of the Leibstandarte. “You told me a long time ago that the men of the Leibstandarte have a gratifyingly large number of children. I would now like to get the names of the children and the mothers, as long as the two have not married in the meantime. Each of these children is of great value, especially since many of the fathers will have died in the meantime. ” It was only six months later that Dietrich replied to him, saying that the troops were on duty and as little as possible with reports and statistics should be charged .
The Lebensborn could not defend himself against the hostility and rumors in public, since he only officially did not exist. Erroneous assessments could only be corrected within the SS. For the first time in 1942, the head of health care in Lebensborn had to defend himself against false accusations. In his report, he emphasized to the audience from the SS that the work he was doing was "a solid and, as you would expect from the SS, decent". He continued: »What you can hear from open and hidden accusations on the part of some SS leaders shows a blatant lack of understanding of this sector of SS work. It is not true that the SS men are encouraged to produce children at any cost, maybe get a hand money for it, and that the Lebensborn then raises these children at the expense of the other SS leaders, it is still true that we undermine or even destroy the marriage with our work, because we supposedly promote the illegitimate child. We know as well as everyone else that marriage, but only the large number of children, is the foundation of the state. «
The legend of Lebensborn as a National Socialist breeding establishment received renewed impetus after the war when Himmler's masseur Felix Kersten reported on statements by the Reichsführer-SS on the subject of marriage and family. Thereafter, Himmler is said to have proposed to end the marriage after the war and to give the heroes of the war who had been awarded the German Cross in Gold, the Knight's Cross, the Iron Cross 1st Class or the silver or gold melee clasp, to have a second marriage next to the first. The primary purpose of this measure was to increase Germany's abundance of children and to compensate for the losses from World War II. In order to give the unmarried women mother happiness, Himmler had planned to recommend them "valuable, racially impeccable men as assistants to procreation". Any woman who has reached the age of thirty without having a child should "consider it her duty of honor towards the rich" to have children. "Then the great time of the Lebensborn will have come," added Himmler.
What was more detrimental than these speculations about the future was Himmler's sentence, which Kersten's "astonishing", that even any unmarried woman standing alone but longing for a child could turn confidently to the Lebensborn during the war «. This statement, when it became known ten years after the war, revived the conjectures about the brothel character of the Lebensborn. Few readers knew that Kersten was not a credible witness to such a remark, the facts of which are nowhere documented . On the other hand, the opinion of the Main Race and Settlement Office is known to a member of the Air Force who asked for the name of a "procreation assistant" and who got the answer that he should take care of it himself . But the imagination of everyone was rekindled by Kersten's advice. Even the German Bundestag was dealing with the matter at the time. When MEP Dr. Dr. hc. Lüders of the Free Democratic Party, stimulated by the newly sparked discussion, asked the Federal Government something about the fate of illegitimate children born in Lebensborn, the Federal Minister of the Interior said. Schröder provided the following information: The Lebensborn was able to "work completely independently" because it had its own maternity homes, its own guardianship department, a child mediation department, a judicial department and a registry office. Therefore, neither the youth welfare offices nor the police authorities could provide precise information about the individual children. However, the minister promised the deputy
The report, which the official Weider commissioned by him after evaluating all of the files, contained no indication that the orphanages had served anything other than to give birth to pregnant women and to preserve children . They were neither SS brothels nor slaughterhouses, nor Nazi breed farms.
Statistical yearbook only the German Reich 1941/42, p. 66.
See Vorländer, H., The NSV. Representation and documentation of a National Socialist organization, Boppard 1988, p. 62 ff.
See German youth welfare; 1937-1938, H. 5, p. 45.
See Klinksiek, B., The woman in the Nazi state, Stuttgart 1982.
Reichsgesetzblatt, I 1938, pp. 807 and 932ff .; see. Blasius, D., Divorce in Germany 1794-1945, Göttingen 1987, pp. 188ff.
See the order from the Reich Minister of Justice No. 2697, in: Reichshaushalts- und Saldenungsblatt dated June 21, 1937.
Federal Archives R 22/966.
Conti, L., memorandum "Increasing the number of children through marriage, marriage counseling and children of choice", Federal Archives NS 20/30, Volume 2; Statement by the Reichsarztes-SS v. August 27, 1940, Berlin Document Center SS-HO 5721.
See Thompson, LW, Lebensborn and the Eugenics Policy of the Reichsführer SS, in: Central European History, 1971, H. 4, p. 56.
See note 1; Grunberger, R., Lebensborn. Himmler's Selective Breeding Establishment, in: Wiener Library Bulletin, 1962, H. 16, p. 52.
See § I of the Lebensborn Articles of Association of December 12, 1935, Bundesarchiv NS 19/329.
Meeting of the SS group leaders in Tölz in 1937, Institute for Contemporary History MA 284, pp. 715ff.
Meeting of the board of the Lebensborn eV on April 5, 1939, Federal Archives NS 20/30, Volume 1.
Bleuel, HP, The Clean Realm. Theory and practice of moral life in the Third Reich, Bern et al. 1972, p. 192.
Lecture Ebner at a meeting of the SS group leaders in 1937 in Tyrol, Institute for Contemporary History MA 284, pp. 715ff.
Federal Archives NS 19/2649; for the planned reorganization of the adoption system cf. Deutsche Jugendhilfe, 1938, H. 1, p. 43 ff.
Lilienthal, G., Der “Lebensborn eV” An Instrument of National Socialist Racial Policy. Research on the recent history of medicine and biology, ed. by Mann, G. and Kümmel, WF, Volume 1, Stuttgart / New York 1985, pp. 54ff.
See note 13.
Federal Archives NS 20/30, volume 2.
At the end of the war, around 9,000 children with a German father and Norwegian mother were registered in Norway. See Kjendsli, V., Kinder der Schande, Berlin 1988, p. 39.
See Lilienthal (note 17), pp. 172ff.
Correspondence between Brandt and Conti from November 1942, Berlin Document Center SS-HO 5352.
One of the special tasks that Himmler assigned to Lebensborn at the beginning of the war was "looking after the widows and children of murdered ethnic Germans in Poland". See Activity Report from December 12, 1935 to December 31, 1939, Bundesarchiv NS 20/30, Volume 1, p. 23; Order No. 67 / I of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationality, Germanization of Children from Polish Families and from Former Polish Orphanages, Federal Archives NS 20/30, Volume 1.
See Lilienthal (note 17) p. 205 ff.
See among others: The Reichsführer-SS, guidelines for the implementation of actions against partisans and other bandits in Upper Carniola and Lower Styria from June 25, 1942, Berlin Document Center O. 217 II.
Program of the Lebensborn, in: Walendy, U. (ed.), Europa in Flammen, Volume 1, Vlotho 1966, p. 260.
See circular of the Main Office for Public Welfare of October 9, 1943, in: Vorländer (Note 2), p. 428ff.
See Treatment of pregnant foreign workers and children born in the empire of foreign workers, in: Documenta occupationis, Vol. 5, ed. by KM Pospieszalski, Poznan 1952, pp. 296ff.
Federal Archives NS 20/30, volume 1.
Civil status law of May 19, 1938, in RGBI I 1938, p. 533ff.
Federal archive R 58/184 entry of May 6, 1940.
The RuSHA Case, in: Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law NO. 10, New York 1950, H. 5, p. 163.
See PZ 58, The Last War, ed. by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, September 1989, p. 10.
See Hillel, M./Henry, C., Lebensborn e. V., In the name of the breed, Vienna / Hamburg 1975.
Hagen, L., Follow my Leader, London 1951, p. 256.
Barden, J., girlfriend and candy, in: Settel, A. (ed.), That is Germany, Frankfurt / M. 1950, p. 150.
Berthold, W., Lebensborn eV Tatsachenroman, Munich 1975, p. 16.
Illustrated film stage No. 05607.
The mirror v. January 4, 1961, pp. 59ff.
The time of February 3, 1961, supplement p. IV.
/ Henry (note 34).
Gong v. 22-28 March 1975, p. 45.
See the Second World War. Zeit-Bild, Heidelberg / Vienna 1979, p. 274.
Hampel, J., The National Socialism, Volume 2: Peace propaganda and war preparation 1935-1939, ed. by the Bavarian State Center for Political Education, Munich 1989, p. 323.
Ibid., P. 337.
Kater, MH, Das »Ahnenerbe« of the SS 1935-1945, Stuttgart 1974, p. 205.
Conrad-Martius, H., Utopias of Human Breeding. Social Darwinism and its Consequences, Munich 1955, p. 101. _
Infield, GBB, Secrets of the SS, New York 1982, p. 138, translated by the author.
See Schub, H., The Rumor. Psychology of Rumor in War, Munich 1981, pp. 14ff.
See only threats of punishment for members of the SS who are to be placed in trust with Lebensborn eV, v. July 19, 1940, Federal Archives NS 7/246.
Minutes of the meeting of the supervisory board of Lebensborn eV on April 5, 1939, p.2, Berlin Document Center SS-HO 1838.
Federal Archives NS 20/30, volume 1.
Bundesarchiv NS 20/30, Volume 1. The Lebensborn received an annual grant of between 700,000 and 1,000,000 RM from the NSV, "because the activity of the Lebensborn eV is close to that of the NSV." See Ebner's letter to the supervisory board, SS group leader Pohl, June 21, 1938, Berlin Document Center SS-HO 5373.
Ebner file note dated August 30, 1938, Bundesarchiv NS 20/30, Volume 1: Minutes of the meeting of the Supervisory Board of the Lebensborn eV (Note 51), p. 4.
Bleuel (note 14), p. 194
The Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior from October 28, 1939. Bundesarchiv NS 20/30, Volume 1.
Ethnic observer v. 24./25./26. December 1939, p. 10.
Reports from the Reich of January 5, 1940, Federal Archives 258/147, sheet 54.
Federal Archives NS 2/276.
See orders of September 1, 1943, Federal Archives / Military Archives RH 14/31, sheet 84, and Letters of Justice No. 8 of May 1, 1943, Federal Archives / Military Archives RH 14/28, sheets 73 ff German soldiers' wives were punished with a prison. Order OKH of January 7, 1944, Federal Archives / Military Archives RH 14/27, sheet 10.
Leaflet propaganda in World War II, Volume 12, ed. von Kirchner, K., Erlangen 1989, Fig. 26.
Report of the SD section Schwerin v. March 28, 1944, Federal Archives NS 6/244.
Messages from the Reich 1938-1945. The secret situation reports of the security service of the SS, ed. and introduced by Boberach, H., Volume 10, Hersching 1984, pp. 3646ff.
Report from the SD section Schwerin (Note 63).
Institute only contemporary history, Fa 202.
Jul op ten Noord was employed by the Rendsburg Colonial School, where she was commissioned to "visit folk German colonies in Russia and in the General Government to gain experience in educating the pupils of the imperial schools for the Eastern idea."
Federal Archives NS 19 new / 795, sheets 9ff.
Federal Archives NS 20/30, volume 2.
Federal Archives NS 19 new / 458.
Lecture Ebner on Lebensbornarbeit, Federal Archives NS 20/30, Volume 2.
See Kersten, F., Totenkopf and Treue. Heinrich Himmler without uniform, Hamburg 1955, p. 223 ff.
Letter from SS Brigadefuhrer Hofmann v. August 30, 1940, Berlin Document Center SS-HO 5721.
See negotiations of the German Bundestag, Stenographic Reports 1955, Volume 23, pp. 3314ff.
Children from the SS retort, in: SZ v. February 21, 1955, p. 3.