Elliott & Thompson is delighted to announce its forthcoming publication of Hitler’s Forgotten Children: My Life Inside the Lebensborn by Ingrid von Oelhafen and Tim Tate. Publisher Jennie Condell bought UK & Commonwealth rights from Andrew Lownie at Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.
A powerful first-person account, Hitler’s Forgotten Children relates an incredible story that has not been told fully in any publication in English before now. In 1942 Erika, a baby girl from Sauerbrunn in Yugoslavia, was taken for a ‘medical’ examination by the Nazi occupiers. Declared an ‘Aryan’, she was removed from her mother and held in a children’s home; her true identity erased, she became Ingrid von Oelhafen.
The Lebensborn programme was the brainchild of Himmler: an extraordinary plan to create an Aryan master race. Later, as Ingrid began to uncover her true identity, the full scale of the scheme became clear – including the kidnapping of up to half a million babies like her, and the deliberate murder of children born into the programme who were deemed ‘substandard’.
Her research took her to little-known records of the Nuremberg Trials, and, ultimately, to Yugoslavia, where an extraordinary discovery revealed the full truth behind her story: the Nazis had substituted ‘Ingrid’ with another child, who had been raised as ‘Erika’ by her family.
Condell said: ‘Ingrid’s quest to discover her true identity is relayed in a gripping narrative that takes readers into the heart of the Lebensborn programme and the secrets of Germany’s past. It is a moving story, written with insight and compassion, but is also a powerful meditation on the personal legacy of Hitler’s vision for a master race. We are delighted to be working with Ingrid and Tim to bring this story to a wide audience.”
Hitler’s Forgotten Children: My Life Inside the Lebensborn will be published as a hardback in May 2015, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Ingrid von Oelhafen is a former physical therapist living in Osnabruck, Germany. For more than 20 years she has been investigating her own extraordinary story and that of Lebensborn. She is in contact with other Lebensborn survivors and has been invited to give talks in schools about the programme and its effects on those who were part of it.
Tim Tate is a multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker and author. In 2013 he produced and directed Lebensborn: Children of the Master Race, which was broadcast on Channel 5. He is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Slave Girl (2009).