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Himmler's Children (Hardback)

Lebensborn and Racial Politics

Military WWII

By Guus de Vries
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 292
Illustrations: 200 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399080552
Published: 21st May 2024

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The Nazis’ dream was to populate their future Greater-German Reich exclusively with ‘racial valuable’ people and Himmler became the main executor of this gruesome and unimaginable plan. For this purpose, millions of ‘inferior’ people had to be expelled or killed, while as many men, women and children of Germanic descent as possible had to be brought together in the territory of the Third Reich.

Children were the key players in Himmler’s sinister plans, and the Lebensborn programme exploited luxurious maternity homes, led by SS-officers, for selected women with the required Aryan features. The pregnant women, often not married, and the fathers of their future children, usually members of the SS, had to comply with very strict racial requirements: Himmler considered their offspring as the future nobility of the Germanic empire.

Obsessed with racial purity and birth rates, the Lebensborn programme fell directly under Himmler's personal control, and arguably became his favourite project. He spent hours drawing up selection criteria, regulations and dietary requirements, personally studying the files of mothers and children and using his private aircraft to transport them to other Lebensborn establishments. The organization was active throughout Germany and the occupied Western European countries, and was also involved in the abduction of 'Aryan' children from Eastern and Central Europe. On Himmler’s orders, tens of thousands of blond, blue-eyed children in Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and other countries were abducted for ‘Germanisation’, partly in Lebensborn children’s homes.

Himmler was so absorbed by the racial delusion, he was convinced this policy served a dual purpose: by abducting the ‘superior’ children, he robbed the subjected countries of their future leaders, while at the same time, strengthening the ‘Germanic race’.

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About Guus de Vries

Dr. Guus de Vries is a historian from Oosterbeek, in the Netherlands. He completed his studies at Nijmegen and Tours, focusing his research on the development and use of military small arms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has published numerous articles in specialist magazines in Belgium, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Russia, the UK and the USA, and has also co-authored seventeen books on firearms history.

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