Sex Outside of Marriage: Lebensborn, How Hitler Planned a Master Race

 
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Most of the smaller children were taken away from their parents before they were old enough to comprehend what was even happening.

The Third Reich built its model of superiority to other nations on its Nordic and Aryan heritage. However, a problem soon arose in that the population of Germany was not sufficient to grow their Reich into a world power.

Germany needed to have a population explosion. There are, of course, only a few ways to do this. One is to incorporate other populations into your own. Another is to grow your own population through whatever methods necessary.

Amid their rapid conquest of the lands to the north and east, they noticed many people within the population who would fit the stereotypes they had assigned to so-called Aryan heritage.

While many people from these Baltic states would technically be Slavic in heritage (and thus sub-human by the Nazi standards), it was nonetheless decided to figure out some way to incorporate them — and, most importantly, their children — into the German Reich.

Germany was losing thousands of men per day on both fronts. These losses would have to be made up in some fashion if the Third Reich was going to repopulate not only its own country but also the new lands captured in the east.

 

Front cover photograph of Hessy Levinsons, the winner of the most beautiful Aryan baby contest–whose promoters never discovered her Jewish ancestry, published on the cover of a Nazi magazine.
Front cover photograph of Hessy Levinsons, the winner of the most beautiful Aryan baby contest–whose promoters never discovered her Jewish ancestry, published on the cover of a Nazi magazine.

The Nazis began several programs designed to rebuild their population swiftly. Firstly and most heinously, they would go through captured territories and select children who were deemed to have sufficient Aryan features.

These children, ranging in age from infants to almost teenagers, would be taken from their families (if the family was still alive) and given to a German family to raise as their own.

Polish children in Nazi-German labour camp in Dzierżązna near Zgierz
Polish children in Nazi-German labour camp in Dzierżązna near Zgierz

Most of the smaller children were taken away from their parents before they were old enough to comprehend what was even happening.

Poland, especially, was a victim of this. Being right on the German border there were many Polish children with at least some original Germanic heritage. These were very susceptible to being taken at will. Parents in this region would go so far as to dye their children’s hair or have them feign illnesses to seem less worth taking.

Kidnapping of Polish children during the Nazi-German resettlement operation in Zamość county
Kidnapping of Polish children during the Nazi-German resettlement operation in Zamość county

The other approach the Nazis tried to boost their population was the Lebensborn program. Its name means “fount of life,” a peaceful-sounding name for a decidedly creepy program.

Hitler had known from the beginning that Germany did not have the population or population growth to match those of his enemies. Motherhood, and especially the giving of sons to Germany, was venerated by the Nazi regime. Awards were given for producing sons for the Fatherland.

A German Mother’s Cross. A Nazi Medal for giving birth.
A German Mother’s Cross. A Nazi Medal for giving birth.

However, even with these policies in place, the normal mothers and families of Germany would still not be able to keep pace with the necessary growth. Some other way had to be found. This was where the Lebensborn came into the picture.

A Lebensborn birth house.Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1973-010-11 CC-BY-SA 3.0
A Lebensborn birth house.Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1973-010-11 CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Third Reich began by essentially encouraging sex outside of marriage with as many Aryan partners as possible to increase the chances of getting pregnant. The Germans would take partners, willing or unwilling, from among the Baltic populations.

German propagandists would go out among the Baltic peoples and try to get them to cooperate in this most personal way with their German conquerors. Women from these groups as well as unmarried women from Germany itself would be gathered together and essentially pimped out by the state.

Christening of a Lebensborn child, c.1935/36.Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1969-062A-58 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Christening of a Lebensborn child, c.1935/36.Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1969-062A-58 CC-BY-SA 3.0

Once they were pregnant, they would be taken care of by state doctors at special, almost resort-like, clinics to ensure a successful pregnancy. They would be given places to stay, regular checkups, and meals, all on the state dime. They were expected to do no work other than create children for Germany.

Any children born in this manner were considered to be the property of the state and not of their mothers or fathers. They were to be raised as perfect specimens of the Aryan race following strict National Socialist ideas and concepts.

It was planned to repopulate the new Germania with these children. As they were considered to be State Property, very few records were kept as to who their parents were and whether their parents were even still alive. Particularly in the case of children stolen from their home countries and given to German families to raise, very little was recorded about their heritage.

Werner Goldberg, who was part Jewish but blond and blue-eyed, was used in Nazi recruitment posters as “The Ideal German Soldier.”
Werner Goldberg, who was part Jewish but blond and blue-eyed, was used in Nazi recruitment posters as “The Ideal German Soldier.”

When Germany lost the war, this program came to nothing. However, its fallout continues to this day. Children from both the state Lebensborn program as well as the forced kidnapping and resettlement programs have spent their entire lives in some cases searching for their birth families.

Read another story from us: The Nazis Weren’t The First, Sweden First Started Sterilising People Who Were Not “Aryan”

Sadly, many of these searches result in either a dead end or someone who was lost in the war itself.

So, while the Third Reich may have gone down in flames in 1945, it’s after effects on the children of the Lebensborn program are felt even now by them as well as their descendants.

 
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