Monday 1 September 2014


Lebensborn literally means “Spring of Life”. This programme was set by  SS leader Heinrich Himmler. It provided maternity homes for the wives of SS members but also cared for unmarried mothers and ran orphanages. However, people who used them and babies who were born there and later brought up in the orphanages had to be “biologically” fit. For approval, especially amongst the unmarried women, purity had to be traceable over three generations. Later it came to be seen as a breeding programme, though no woman was forced to have sex with a man if she didn’t want to.
It reinforced the obsession with Aryan qualities. This showed up in other places and children were constantly assessed for how Aryan they were. One of the German girls finds herself involved in measuring and assessing the shapes of the noses and ears of the children in her charge. 
The children brought up within the Lebensborn system were given a good life, full of luxury but often suffered from psychological problems afterwards.  

The Lebesnborn initiative was an attempt to create perfect babies who would turn into perfect human beings. Do we still do this?
What about farm animals and pets? 
Would single mums have been more comfortable within the Lebensborn system than they would have been in Britain at the time? 
How does that compare with our experience in the 21st Century. 

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