Hitler's Forgotten Children: My Life Inside the Lebensborn
"Shocking… I had to take some quiet time after reading it just to process what I had learned. This is a hugely important book which anyone with an interest in the Third Reich, or who cares about the damaging impact of supremacist politics, must read." -- Louise Hector, LouiseReviews
‘More than 70 years ago I was a “gift” for Adolf Hitler. I was stolen as a baby to be part of one of the most terrible of all Nazi experiments: Lebensborn.’
The Lebensborn programme was the brainchild of Himmler: an extraordinary plan to create an Aryan master race, leaving behind thousands of displaced victims in the wake of the Nazi regime.
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.
Later, as Ingrid began to uncover her true identity, the full scale of the Lebensborn scheme and the Nazi obsession with bloodlines 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’.
Written with insight and compassion, this is a powerful meditation on the personal legacy of Hitler’s vision, of Germany’s brutal past and of a divided Europe that for many years struggled to come to terms with its own history.
If you would like to find out more, Ingrid was on BBC Breakfast on the 19th of May, sharing her remarkable story.
Or if you would like to listen to the authors talk on the book, they are also making the following radio appearances:
BBC Radio 4 Midweek (broadcast on the 20 May)
BBC Radio Wales – Roy Noble Show (broadcast on the 24 May)
BBC Radio Scotland – Culture Cafe (broadcast on the 19 May)
BBC Radio Berkshire – Paul Ross Show (broadcast on the 20 May)
Radio Gorgeous here: http://bit.ly/IVOLife
“An emotional read… engagingly written… by experiencing the distance and loneliness of von Oelhafen’s youth with her, it’s much easier to empathise with the tragic situation of hundreds of children during Hitler’s reign.” – All About History magazine
“Every person I have told about this book has immediately gone to buy it and I encourage everyone else to do so as it is a story that needs to be told, much like the Holocaust needed to be told.” – CountryWives.co.uk
"In an age when it takes a lot to shock Western audiences, there is still shock to be found in true stories. And Ingrid's story is a true one. Hitler's Forgotten Children … will stay in your head for a long time once you close the final pages." -- MadamJMo, blogger
"Every once in a while you think you have heard the most grotesque and bizarre extremes of Hitler’s National Socialist madness and then another revelation comes along. Reading Ingrid von Oelhafen’s book was just such a moment. … Two of the most remarkable features of this book are its human warmth and its absence of rancour. The author has every right to bitterness and self-pity after the treatment she received, but she yields to neither. Towards the end of the book she writes ‘I knew I had to learn not just to understand but to forgive’. It is my belief that she has done both.” – Richard Littledale, blogger
“As someone who reads non-fiction books such as this one quite often, I was pleased overall with the narrative voice of Ingrid, and readers will really feel for her personal struggles to get answers to questions no one wants to answer. Her determination is admirable, and her positivity is outstanding, considering some of the hardships she has faced. … I feel we owe it to her to at least try and understand what she alone has had to go through over the years, simply to find out what the rest of us take for granted: our true identity.” - Jade Cranwell, Reviewing Central
“A really interesting book on a little known subject … we have to admire Ingrid for telling her story” - Callmemadam, blogger
“A very readable look at an incredibly personal tale – the openness featured here is remarkable, as is the clarity of the writing, as the narrative goes from official history to personal … The fact that so many Lebensborn sufferers have gone on to work for the care of others shows the Nazi idea behind it died a death a long time ago, even if the legacy still remains. The fact this book exists is a further success against the Nazi idea too, and as a result is worth the read.” - John Lloyd, The Bookbag