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.
history1
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by history1 » 04 Mar 2014 16:56

I would also check the parish register (Taufbuch) in the village where she lives, she need to consult the local priest for this. Also the register of births (Geburtenbuch) at the local civil registry office (Standesamt).

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Annelie
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Annelie » 04 Mar 2014 17:07

Okay, thankyou.

I will give her that info.

Best
Annelie

Mannheim
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Mannheim » 07 Mar 2014 07:41

I have read before of Himmler's 'procreation' order to SS and Police and the resulting outrage but have never seen a source. Can anyone direct me to a copy of the order?

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Stephanie625
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Stephanie625 » 07 Mar 2014 21:03

Berlin, October 28, 1939
The Reichsführer SS and
Chief of the German Police
in the Reich Ministry of the Interior


SS-Decree for the Entire SS and Police

[ . . . ]

The old proverb that only he can die in peace who has sons and children must again hold good in this war, particularly for the SS. He can die in peace who knows that his clan and everything that his ancestors and he himself have wanted and striven for will be continued in his children. The greatest gift for the widow of a man killed in battle is always the child of the man she has loved.

Beyond the limits of bourgeois laws and conventions, which are perhaps necessary in other circumstances, it can be a noble task for German women and girls of good blood to become even outside marriage, not light-heartedly but out of a deep moral seriousness, mothers of the children of soldiers going to war of whom fate alone knows whether they will return or die for Germany.

[ . . . ]

During the last war, many a soldier decided from a sense of responsibility to have no more children during the war so that his wife would not be left in need and distress after his death. You SS men need not have these anxieties; they are removed by the following regulations:

1. Special delegates, chosen by me personally, will take over in the name of the Reichsführer SS, the guardianship of all legitimate and illegitimate children of good blood whose fathers were killed in the war. We will support these mothers and take over the education and material care of these children until they come of age, so that no mother and widow need suffer want.

2. During the war, the SS will take care of all legitimate and illegitimate children born during the war and of expectant mothers in cases of need. After the war, when the fathers return, the SS will in addition grant generous material help to well-founded applications by individuals.

SS-Men and you mothers of these children which Germany has hoped for show that you are ready, through your faith in the Führer and for the sake of the life of our blood and people, to regenerate life for Germany just as bravely as you know how to fight and die for Germany.

The Reichsführer SS
H. Himmler

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Stephanie625
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Stephanie625 » 07 Mar 2014 21:06

[And the response to public outrage]

Berlin, 30 January 1940
The Reichsführer SS and
Chief of the German Police


SS Order for the whole of the SS and Police

You are aware of my order of 28 October 1939, in which I reminded you of your duty if possible to become fathers of children during the war.

This publication, which was conceived with a sense of decency and was received in the same sense, states and openly discusses actual problems. It has led to misconceptions and misunderstandings on the part of some people. I therefore consider it necessary for every one of you to know what doubts and misunderstandings have arisen and what there is to say about them.

1. Objection has been taken to the clear statement that illegitimate children exist, and that some unmarried and single women and girls have always become mothers of such children outside marriage and always will.

There is no point in discussing this; the best reply is the letter from the Führer's Deputy to an unmarried mother which I enclose together with my order of 28 October 1939.

2. The worst misunderstanding concerns the paragraph which reads:

“Beyond the limits of bourgeois laws and conventions ...” According to this, as some people misunderstand it, SS men are encouraged to approach the wives of serving soldiers. However incomprehensible to us such an idea may be, we must discuss it.

What do those who spread or repeat such opinions think of German women? Even if, in a nation of 82 million people, some man should approach a married woman from dishonorable motives or human weakness, two parties are needed for seduction: the one who wants to seduce and the one who consents to being seduced.

Quite apart from our own principle that one does not approach the wife of a comrade, we think that German women are probably the best guardians of their honor. Any other opinion should be unanimously rejected by all men as an insult to German women.

Furthermore, the question has been raised as to why the wives of the SS and police are looked after in a special way and not treated the same as all the others.

The answer is very simple: because the SS through their willingness to make sacrifices and through comradeship have raised the necessary funds, through voluntary contributions from leaders and men, which have been paid for years to the Lebensborn [Lifespring] organization.

Following this statement all misunderstandings should have been cleared up.

But it is up to you SS men, as at all times when ideological views have to be put across, to win the understanding of German men and women for this sacred issue so vital to our people and which is beyond the reach of all cheap jokes and mockery.

The Reichsführer SS
H. Himmler



Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, p. 372.

Source of original German text: Aus deutschen Urkunden 1935-1945, pp. 174-75.

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Stephanie625
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Stephanie625 » 07 Mar 2014 21:29

Also.... I am looking for the text, but SS promotions could be denied if the man in question did not father children. I am coming to be of the middle ground as far as the Lebensborn. The salacious media productions of the mid-late 20th century, suggesting that the Lebensborn were SS brothels, is likely fiction. Many SS wives were served by this program. On the other hand, there are too many testimonies that girls did entertain SS men at the homes to simply dismiss this. But as far as the idea that these girls were forced, or assigned men to breed with like livestock, this is (so far) pure speculation and I've not discovered a shred of documentation validating this assumption. Please keep in mind that in order to qualify for the Lebensborn, a girl not only had to be "racially fit" but ideologically dedicated as well, so the idea of young maidens blatantly coerced is, as one researcher put it, a fictional variation on the "Beauty and the Beast" theme that has so long intrigued mankind.

All evidence points to women and girls entering the Lebensborn only AFTER conception has occurred. Most were only allowed to stay on a few months post-partum, but it is conceivable that the Lebensborn facilitated her in meeting a new SS lover. There is photographic evidence of troops of SS men visiting Lebensborn homes for ceremonies at least, and indeed, testimony of parties that were held there. But the most likely source of Lebensborn offspring from unmarried couples would be the natural one: an SS man meeting a woman on their own terms, and only after conception, the woman applies to Lebensborn. Also noteworthy, 60% of the women who applied were rejected.

I cannot say that I know anything about Lebensborn outside of Germany, so other situations might have arisen. But the idea of the Lebensborn as stud farms or forced mating programs are, from all current evidence, exaggerations. If anyone has found any evidence to contradict my point, I would be glad to see it! So far, the only heinous dark deeds I have found in connection with the Lebensborn are the kidnapping of foreign "Aryan" children from occupied territories, and the Sparta-esque infanticide practiced on babies who were deemed unfit. It is not clear in my mind, still, whether or not the mothers were compelled to give up their babies if unmarried. I have read that some women took their children home. I've also read that an unmarried woman would have a period of time in which to resolve her "situation" and make her home acceptable for the proper rearing of the elite child, so we might assume some compulsion if the mother's life was deemed unfit. Lack of a husband, and lack of job skills (obvious when dealing with young girls), ESPECIALLY in the 30s and 40s, might not be a suitable scenario in which to bring up a child. And, of course, the children were technically the property of the Reich.

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Stephanie625
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Stephanie625 » 07 Mar 2014 21:34

Again, I hope that anyone has discovered information on the prenatal care at the Lebensborn homes. Apparently Himmler himself designed protocols, and I am curious to know what they were.

Mannheim
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Mannheim » 07 Mar 2014 23:45

Me too. Thanks for the source.

Oberhessin
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Oberhessin » 08 Mar 2014 06:38

Again I would recommand a visit in the Archives of the International tracing Service in Bad Arolsen. Their collection including the papers of the Medical Adviser Dr. Gregor Ebner offers a varietey of folders including all answers to nearly your questions.

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Stephanie625
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Stephanie625 » 08 Mar 2014 15:28

Oberhessin.... I would love to take a visit, not only for historical research but just for relaxation! Unfortunately won't be possible for another year or so at least...

I can't even decide when would be the best season to visit Germany. There are cultural events in every season that I am eager to see.

Perhaps the records are online somewhere?

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Annelie
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Annelie » 14 Apr 2017 17:20

When an child is born in the Lebensborn program
how is the 'birth certificate noted?

Is the child born listed as being born to an single mother?

Was there an particular form of birth certificate for someone born in
the Lebensborn different from other birth certificates?

Diane
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Diane » 14 Apr 2017 22:38

.

Beware... " Lebensborn program " is propaganda "history" written by the Allied victors.

Such a woman, mother and child demeaning program would be more in line with the Bolshevik agenda to destroy the family.

Hitler was very pro-family and promoted the traditional German family as the foundation and cradle of the German Aryan race.

.

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seaburn
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by seaburn » 14 Apr 2017 23:30

Diane wrote:.

Beware... " Lebensborn program " is propaganda "history" written by the Allied victors.

Such a woman, mother and child demeaning program would be more in line with the Bolshevik agenda to destroy the family.

Hitler was very pro-family and promoted the traditional German family as the foundation and cradle of the German Aryan race.

.
Propaganda? I think not. Whatever Hitler's thoughts on the nuclear family were, Himmler was much more pragmatic - Danny Parker records in his book 'Hitler's Warrior' a letter from Himmler to Sepp Dietrich in July 43 when he stated 'that the men of the Leibstandarte have an encouraging number of children born out of wedlock' obviously he appreciated that the attrition rates from the war had to be made up every way possible. Monthly deductions were taken from the SS salaries to contribute financially to the programme, with those who signed up having 'Lebensborn' noted in their Persoanakte's as in the example below
lebensborn.jpg
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Wordsworth
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Re: Unwed mothers and the Lebensborn

Post by Wordsworth » 22 May 2017 22:24

There were a lot of things that Hitler's underlings got up to that Hitler either didn't approve of or just didn't care about. He was critical of Himmler's pagan religious ceremonies, for example, telling him that he was just trading the "mysticism of Christianity for the mysticism of Wotan".

Hitler may have only given lip service to the traditional German family or he may have genuinely believed in the idea, but it's unlikely he bothered to learn about lebensborn or, if he knew about it in a general sense, probably either didn't care enough to find out details.

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