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Dr. Eleanor Isaacson's Story


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Surviving Hitler's Germany

Eleanor shares her experience growing up in Nazi Germany hearing the lies of Hitler's Nazi education system, facing the daily threats of bombs and starvation, narrowly escaping the Dresden bombing, smuggling food across the Czechoslovakian border, and eventually escaping to America — all under the watchful eye of her "Invisible Friend."


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Lebensborn means "spring of life."  The "Lebensborn" project was one of the most secret and terrifying Nazi projects.  Heinrich Himmler created the "Lebensborn" on December 12th, 1935.  The goal of this society ("Registered Society Lebensborn -- Lebensborn Eingetragener Verein") was to offer to young girls who were "racially pure" the possibility to give birth to a child in secret.  The child was then given to the SS organization which took in charge his "education" and adoption.

In the beginning, the "Lebensborn" were SS nurseries.  But in order to create a "super-race," the SS transformed these nurseries into "meeting places" for "racially pure" German women who wanted to meet and make children with SS officers.  The children born in the Lebensborn were taken in charge by the SS and it is important to know that most of them were also victims of this race policy.  Without any contact with their mothers, without any parental love most of them became autistic.

From 1939, one of the most horrible side of the Lebensborn policy was the kidnapping of children "racially goods" in eastern occupied countries.  These kidnappings were organized by the SS in order to take by force children who matched the Nazi's racial criteria (blond hair, blue eyes, etc....).  Thousands of children were transferred to the "Lebensborn" centers in order to be "Germanized."  In these centers, everything was done to force the children to reject and forget their birth parents.  As an example, the SS nurses tried to persuade the children that they were deliberately abandoned by their parents.  The children who refused the Nazi education were often beaten.  Most of them were finally transferred to concentration camps (most of the time Kalish in Poland) and exterminated.  The others were adopted by SS families.

In 1942, in reprisals of the assassination of the SS governor Heydrich in Prague, a SS unit exterminated the entire male population of a small village called Lidice.  During this "operation," some SS made a selection of the children.  Ninety-one of them were considered as good enough to be "Germanized" and sent to Germany.  The others were sent to special children camps (i.e. Dzierzazna & Litzmannstadti) and later to the extermination canters.

It is nearly impossible to know how many children were kidnapped in the eastern occupied countries.  In 1946, it was estimated that more than 250,000 were kidnapped and sent by force to Germany.  Only 25,000 were retrieved after the war and sent back to their family.  it is known that several German families refused to give back the children they had received from the Lebensborn centers.  In some cases, the children themselves refused to come back to their original family: they were victims of the Nazi propaganda and believed that they were pure Germans.  It is also known that thousands of children not "good enough" to be Germanized were simply exterminated.

Norway was occupied in 1940.  This country especially interested Himmler because of its Viking past.  Himmler had a great interest in the warriors that the Vikings produced and in their success as fighters.  Norwegian woman were encouraged or forced into sexual liaisons with SS officers regardless of whether they were married or not, and nine Lebensborn homes were established in the country.  Children born as a result of such liaisons were brought up by Germany by approved Nazi parents.  They were baptized in a SS ceremony where their adoptive parents swore that the child would have a lifelong allegiance to Nazi beliefs.  Other Lebensborn clinics were established in Western Europe -- France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Luxemburg all had one hume built.

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