The Lebensborn project was one of most secret and terrifying Nazi projects

During World War Two around 12,000 blue-eyed, blond children were kidnapped by the Nazi’s elite security service, the SS.

The children were kidnapped as part of the Nazi’s grand plan to create a super Aryan race. They were known as the Lebensborn or The Fount of Life.

All of the children had blond hair and bright blue eyes, and included children as young as two to three years old.

It was Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, who was obsessed with creating the super race of blue-eyed, blond-haired people. Himmler had been fanatical about breeding the perfect master race, and even experimented with animals and tried to breed a pure white chicken.

The Aryan race was to replace the millions of Jewish people who had been interned or killed in the German concentration camps.

A Lebensborn birth house [Via]

Folker Heinecke was one of the children taken from his mother at just four years old. Until 1942 Folker had been born and brought up with his family in the Crimea. The SS first took him to a German medical institute, where he underwent measurements and checks for his suitability.

Folker became a member of the Lebensborn. This was Himmler’s breeding programme for the master race that would secure Hitler’s vision of a thousand year Reich.

The programme called for both the kidnapping of suitable children from within German-occupied Europe, as well as creating breeding clinics where SS officer were required to mate with suitably chosen German women.

Then in northern Europe’s Scandinavian countries, where the Aryan race characteristics were, and still are, widespread, SS officers were told to mate with local women, regardless of whether they were already married.

Those born into the ‘Lebensborn’ were baptised at a special SS ceremony, where they were bound to the Nazi ideology for life.

The children and their mothers were treated like royalty. They were given the finest accommodation, homes, food and clothing. Children without families were housed in special orphanages, and then given to rich Nazi families to bring up.

Christening of a Lebensborn child, c.1936-1944 [Via]

Folker was given to Nazi parents. Now 67 years old, Folker says he remembers being lined up and the couples would come along and chose their new child like they were choosing a new pet.

Folker’s new father was a Nazi fanatic and was close friends with Himmler. Folker remembers Himmler visiting their home often. Folker’s journey since the war, leading him to find his real mother’s grave in the Crimea, has been made into a new documentary.

After the war the Lebensborn were persecuted, with their mothers labelled German whores, and the Norwegian government even attempted to deport thousands to Australia just to get rid of them.

Suicide among Lebensborn was extremely high and the children were prone to mental disabilities as well as alcoholism, excessive drug use and crime.

Christening of a Lebensborn child, c.1936-1944 [Via]

Anni-Frid Lyngstad, the Abba singer, was born from a Norwegian mother and German soldier father. Her family fled to Sweden where their secret was unknown.

Those who remained in their towns and villages were often beaten and raped. Priests even suggested that the Lebensborn should be sterilised to prevent them creating a Nazi race, the Mail Online reports.

A group of Lebensborn just last year launched a campaign in the European Court of Human Rights to seek compensation from the Norwegian government for their treatment in the post-war years.

The case was dismissed and they were offered a one off payment of a few thousand Euros.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE