Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
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Stephanie625
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Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Stephanie625 » 18 Feb 2014 07:14

[Split from "Extracts from SS Soldiers Friend [Der Soldatenfreund] 1943"]

Not sure if this thread is still active, but do we have any statistic for the percentage of unwed German women who became pregnant before the Nazi period, and during?

It seems to me, just from observation, that the percentage of girls and women in Western society who become unwed mothers ought not to be very high, as societal conditioning was so long in condemnation of such behavior. No matter how much the Nazis relaxed moral standards (which is another debate altogether), it seems unlikely that natural occurrence of illegitimate offspring might not be high enough to account for the numbers of children involved in the Lebensborn program. It is documented that children of Nordic appearance were "removed" from occupation zones, some say charitably in the case of orphaning, some say by force.

With at least 20,000 children born (der Spiegel), the bulk thus far documented from Norway, and testimony from women who claim to have taken residence in a Lebensborn home prior to meeting SS men (who, according to the German Voices book, treated the place as a club), is it not at all possible that we're not just seeing a charity home for random unwed mothers of Aryan stock, but a home that encouraged further illicit relations? There is even testimony from neighbors, who claim to have seen many SS men coming to the homes. If the Lebensborn homes were only to care for mothers, what then was the reason for the visits from SS men, and the somewhat lush atmosphere described in the interviews?

I wonder if not, as so often is the case in history, the truth here lies in the middle? It seems quite improbably that so many thousands of German girls would get themselves "in trouble" in this way without some further form of encouragement than just "the government will take care of you", and more improbable that the SS men themselves would so often frequent the homes.

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Stephanie625
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Stephanie625 » 18 Feb 2014 15:42

Further looking seems to indicated that the rates of unwed pregnancy COULD support the Lebensborn as simply a home, but doesn't account for eye-witness testimony, unless propaganda?

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seaburn
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by seaburn » 23 Feb 2014 20:59

Pre war, unwed mothers were not as uncommon as we now assume. John Toland in his book 'Adolf Hitler' relates that in the area and time Hitler was born ' In lower Austria, It was common (illegitimacy)and in some remote districts ran as high as 40%. (page 5.) and this was in a very Catholic region too.!

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Annelie
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Annelie » 23 Feb 2014 21:32

Hi Seaburn,

Seeing there has always been men and women interested in the opposite sex I wouldn't
dispute that fact.

There is more I could add but its easy to read into it LOL...

Annelie

ylla
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by ylla » 24 Feb 2014 11:09

French women and german soldiers during the occupation of France. Many french and german soldiers "hit it off". After the war there were so many children born in France with german soldiers as fathers. I highly doubt they were married. Many german soldiers were already married to their german misses.

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seaburn
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by seaburn » 24 Feb 2014 15:51

robert-capa-01.jpg
This famous photo taken by war photographer Robert Capa in Central France in 1944 has become pretty iconic as it depicts one of these unfortunate girls as she is paraded through the town after liberation, her hair already shorn. Her father is also in the picture, he is the one looking grim as opposed to the leering crowds who are taking delight in humiliating another human being and her innocent child.
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history1
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by history1 » 25 Feb 2014 08:59

seaburn wrote:[...] John Toland in his book 'Adolf Hitler' relates that in the area and time Hitler was born ' In lower Austria, it was common (illegitimacy)and in some remote districts ran as high as40%. (page 5.) [....]
Wich area he´s referring to? Austria?
It´s the province Lower Austria.
Common and up to 40%? I would like to know his source.

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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Cerdic » 25 Feb 2014 10:16

There are likely no reliable statistics. After all, the large majority (95% or so) were still Protestant or Catholic and believed in Conservative sexual morality. Any records may not be reliable in listing a child as illegitimate - after all, it's easy to lie.

http://www.academia.edu/5284573/Materna ... zi_Germany

Evans (The Third Reich at War) writes that during the war, the absence of husbands and boyfriends from the equation left many German women to fend for themselves, so to speak, in often new Factory enviroments. As the war went on, sexual morality broke down more and more, especially during the final air raids.

He writes:
Social contact between Germans and western foreign labourers was not banned if the latter were not prisoners of war, and there were inevitably many sexual encounters, so many, indeed, that the Security Service of the SS estimated that at least 20,000 illegitimate children were born to German women as a result, so that the ‘danger of foreign contamination of the blood of the German people was constantly increasing’

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wm
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by wm » 25 Feb 2014 10:38

During the wars (WW1 and WW2) morals declined dramatically almost immediately and everywhere: Germany, Poland, the USSR and even Malta.
The pre-war morals weren't that great either although maybe sufficiently under control among the upper classes. But the "upper" morals were frequently put aside if there was someone defenceless nearby, let's say a young peasant girl-servant in a bourgeois house, or a young female worker in a factory.

Among the lower classes it was worse, or simply not sufficiently under control (not to mention the non-existent, medieval-like sex knowledge). Illegitimacy, illegal abortions were common, and even more - for example in the twenties, in some villages in Poland children of incestuous relationships (father-daughter) were estimated up to 10%.

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 25 Feb 2014 12:39

Hello,
This picture was not taken in Northern France but in Chartres ( Central aera, Eure & Loire department and 90 km - 55 miles - south of Paris) on the 18th of august 1944.
Sorry for my poor english.
Kindly regards
Prosper :)
seaburn wrote:
robert-capa-01.jpg
This famous photo taken by war photographer Robert Capa in Northern France in 1944 has become pretty iconic as it depicts one of these unfortunate girls as she is paraded through the town after liberation, her hair already shorn. Her father is also in the picture, he is the one looking grim as opposed to the leering crowds who are taking delight in humiliating another human being and her innocent child.

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wm
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by wm » 25 Feb 2014 13:09

immoral nazis.jpg
LIFE Magazine, 28 August 1939
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seaburn
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by seaburn » 25 Feb 2014 14:36

history1 wrote:
seaburn wrote:[...] John Toland in his book 'Adolf Hitler' relates that in the area and time Hitler was born ' In lower Austria, it was common (illegitimacy)and in some remote districts ran as high as40%. (page 5.) [....]
Wich area he´s referring to? Austria?
It´s the province Lower Austria.
Common and up to 40%? I would like to know his source.
Hi 'History1' I have checked the book for the source of Toland's figures of 40%, but unfortunately he doesn't have one for that particular assertion. He does reference information he put in to pages 3-5 of the book as follows ' Information on Schicklgruber birth register from documents in PhD dissertations, University of Vienna, at Institute fur Zeitgeschichte, Vienna'. Its not clear if the 40% birth rate was gleaned from that dissertation or not.

Hi 'Prosper' I have changed the offending location in my post, it looks Northern to me, but I bow to your knowledge in this case. Tks :)
Last edited by seaburn on 25 Feb 2014 16:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Annelie
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Annelie » 25 Feb 2014 16:03

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_s ... rld_War_II

In the 1920s there were about 150,000 illegitimate births in Germany, before halving during the depression and bouncing up to 100,000 in 1935.[3] The Nazis wanted to increase the illegitimate births by encouraging out of wedlock births, especially those of Aryan heritage. Part official policy, part propaganda, the Nazi policy manifested itself in the Lebensborn program. The Lebensborn program provided a place where pregnant mothers could have their babies out of wedlock in secret.[4]
Only the most "pure" of its applicants were chosen to join its programs. Of all the women who applied, only 40 percent passed the racial purity test (They had to show their family tree three generations back) and were granted admission to the Lebensborn program. The majority of mothers were unmarried, 57.6 percent until 1939, and about 70 percent by 1940.[5]


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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Cerdic » 25 Feb 2014 17:06

This documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckyTPHnr9aM features the case of more than 40 teenage girls in a youth camp. Most of them ended up pregnant (a boy's camp was nearby) prompting anger from their parents.

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Unwed mothers

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 25 Feb 2014 18:11

Seaburn wrote,
Hi 'Prosper' I have changed the offending location in my post, it looks Northern to me, but I bow to your knowledge in this case. Tks
Dont'worry about that, but it's better to note the right location.
Kindly regards
Prosper :wink:

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