The Sons and Daughters of Himmler, Göring, Höss, Mengele, and Others— Living with a Father's Monstrous Legacy
Author: Tania Crasnianski
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
In 1940, the German sons and daughters of great Nazi dignitaries Himmler, Göring, Hess, Frank, Bormann, Speer, and Mengele were children of privilege at four, five, or ten years old, surrounded by affectionate, all-powerful parents. Although innocent and unaware of what was happening at the time, they eventually discovered the extent of their father’s occupations: These men—their fathers who were capable of loving their children and receiving love in return—were leaders of the Third Reich, and would later be convicted as monstrous war criminals. For these children, the German defeat was an earth-shattering source of family rupture, the end of opulence, and the jarring discovery of Hitler’s atrocities. How did the offspring of these leaders deal with the aftermath of the war and the skeletons that would haunt them forever? Some chose to disown their past. Others did not. Some condemned their fathers; others worshipped them unconditionally to the end. In this enlightening book, Tania Crasnianski examines the responsibility of eight descendants of Nazi notables, caught somewhere between stigmatization, worship, and amnesia. By tracing the unique experiences of these children, she probes at the relationship between them and their fathers and examines the idea of how responsibility for the fault is continually borne by the descendants.
The Children of the Nazi Leaders - an Intimate History of Damage and Denial
Author: Stephan Lebert
Publisher: Little Brown
Category: Children of Nazis
There are and always have been ways of escaping one's own past. But there are some who have never had this chance: the children of prominent Nazis. On one hand they have the memories of the nice, kind man who was their father, on the other they are confronted with the facts of history: with the madness, the murders, the personal purgatory. The Leberts, father and son, spoke at an interval of forty years - 1959 and 1999 - to these men and women who bore a tainted name and were crushed by the burden of the past: Gudrun Himmler - 75, runs a network for old Nazis in Munich, denies her father did anything wrong; Martin Boorman (junior) - 70, believes his father was a monster; Etta Goring - 70, will hear no bad word about her father; Nicholas Frank (father was in charge of Auschwitz) believes his father was the incarnation of evil. The result is a series of snapshots of rare intensity and a demonstration of how these destinies have more to do with the twenty-first century than many would care to think.
In this riveting, powerful narrative, Lynn Nicholas shows how children under the Nazis became mere objects available for use in the service of the totalitarian state. Nicholas recounts the euthanasia and eugenic selection, racist indoctrination, kidnapping and “Germanization,” mass executions, and slave labor to which the Nazis subjected Europe’s children. She also captures the uprooted children’s search for their families in the aftermath of the war. A disturbing and absolutely necessary work, Cruel World opens a new chapter in World War II studies. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Fascinating . . . Posner’s book gives a remarkable insight, from a family perspective, into the lives of many of the top Nazis and vilest criminals" – Sunday Express "A mesmerizing, blood-chilling book . . . The contrast between innocent childhood experience, and the awful understanding of that experience that came with time, is enough to make you weep" – Los Angeles Times "Fascinating . . . A compelling look at the conflicting emotions felt by children of prominent Nazis" – Cleveland Plain-Dealer "They were the architects of terror but they were also fathers. Now, for the first time, their children speak out . . . a fascinating book" – Sunday Mail Göring. Hess. Mengele. Dönitz. Names that conjure up dark memories of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. They were the architects of the Third Reich. And they were fathers. Gerald Posner convinced eleven sons and daughters of Hitler’s inner circle to break their silence. Hitler’s Children is a riveting and intimate look inside the families of top Nazis. Based on exclusive and in-depth interviews, Gerald Posner provides an unforgettable portrait of some children ravaged by anger and hatred while others are riven with guilt and plead for forgiveness. This second generation of perpetrators in Hitler’s Children struggle with their Third Reich inheritance. In grappling with memories of good and loving fathers who were later charged with war crimes, these heirs to the Nazi legacy add a fresh and important perspective to understanding the complexity of what historian, Hannah Arendt, dubbed “the banality of evil.” Hitler’s Children is much more, however, than a series of startling family interviews. It is also a spellbinding insider’s look at some of the men whose names have become synonymous with terror. This is a classic book about the second generation of Nazi perpetrators (the only one ever to have family interviews with Hess, Mengele, Donitz, and Göring.) No other book author or documentarian ever got those children to talk again. And Norman Frank, the eldest son of war criminal Hans Frank, also never spoke to anyone but Posner. Hitler’s Children serves as a vivid reminder to all of us of the dangers of ignoring anti-Semitism or thinking it will go away or can't get any worse. These are the children who saw their fathers corrupted by the insidious, centuries-old hatred, and their accounts serve as a clarion warning to us today that all decent people must redouble their efforts against racial and religious hatred. The book, perhaps more timely today than when it was published in 1991, includes a new introduction, explaining why this book is particularly important during a time of rising international anti-Semitism.
Witnesses of War is the first work to show how children experienced the Second World War under the Nazis. Children were often the victims in this most terrible of European conflicts, falling prey to bombing, mechanised warfare, starvation policies, mass flight and genocide. But children also became active participants, going out to smuggle food, ply the black market, and care for sick parents and siblings. As they absorbed the brutal new realities of German occupation, Polish boys played at being Gestapo interrogators, and Jewish children at being ghetto guards or the SS. Within days of Germany's own surrender, German children were playing at being Russian soldiers. As they imagined themselves in the roles of their all-powerful enemies, children expressed their hopes and fears, as well as their humiliation and envy. This is the first account of the Second World War which brings together the opposing perspectives and contrasting experiences of those drawn into the new colonial empire of the Third Reich. German and Jewish, Polish and Czech, Sinti and disabled children were all to be separated along racial lines, between those fit to rule and those destined to serve; ultimately between those who were to live and those who were to die. Because the Nazis measured their success in terms of Germany's racial future, children lay at the heart of their war. Drawing on a wide range of new sources, from welfare and medical files to private diaries, letters and pictures, Nicholas Stargardt evokes the individual voices of children under Nazi rule. By bringing their experiences of the war together for the first time, he offers a fresh and challenging interpretation of the Nazi social order as a whole.
A Jewish Childhood in Nazi Germany and Growing Up in South Wales
Author: Ellen Davis
Publisher: Seren Books/Poetry Wales PressLtd
Category: Biography & Autobiography
"Ellen Davis was born Karry Wertheim in 1929 in a small German village near Kassel, where her Jewish family had lived since 1760. This autobiography tells the harrowing story of Ellen's struggle to protect her younger brothers and sisters (her 'children') from the terrors of life in 1930s Germany. Beaten by the Gestapo. forced from their home, attacked by the Hitler Youth, the children took refuge in an orphanage, which was itself attacked on Kristallnacht. Ellen was sent to Britain via the Kindertransport, escaping the Nazis, but not from her family." "Adopted by a childless couple from Swansea, her new home was far from perfect. Their house was destroyed in the three-night Blitz of the town and, later, she experiences difficulties in her first marriage. But with a son and a daughter of her own, she found happiness in a new relationship. And in later life she has visited Germany, Australia, Israel, the US and Latvia, meeting surviving relatives, and discovering the heart-rending fate of her family in Riga." "Ellen Davis tells her story simply and honestly. In recent years she has given many interviews about her life and spoken about it especially to young people - determined that future generations are made aware of what happens when intolerance is given free rein."--BOOK JACKET.
Children in the Holocaust and World War II is an extraordinary, unprecedented anthology of diaries written by children all across Nazi-occupied Europe and in England. Twenty-three young people, ages ten through eighteen, recount in vivid detail the horrors they lived through, day after day. As powerful as The Diary of Anne Frank and Zlata's Diary, here are children's experiences—all written with an unguarded eloquence that belies their years. The diarists include a Hungarian girl, selected by Mengele to be put in a line of prisoners who were tortured and murdered; a Danish Christian boy executed by the Nazis for his partisan work; and a twelve-year-old Dutch boy who lived through the Blitzkrieg in Rotterdam. In the Janowska death camp, eleven-year-old Pole Janina Heshele so inspired her fellow prisoners with the power of her poetry that they found a way to save her from the Nazi ovens. Mary Berg was imprisoned at sixteen in the Warsaw ghetto even though her mother was American and Christian. She left an eyewitness record of ghetto atrocities, a diary she was able to smuggle out of captivity. Moshe Flinker, a sixteen-year-old Netherlander, was betrayed by an informer who led the Gestapo to his family's door; Moshe and his parents died in Auschwitz in 1944. They come from Czechoslovakia, Austria, Israel, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Lithuania, Russia, England, and Denmark. They write in spare, searing prose of life in ghettos and concentration camps, of bombings and Blitzkriegs, of fear and courage, tragedy and transcendence. Their voices and their vision ennoble us all.
Eighty-two percent of German boys and girls between the ages of ten and eighteen belonged to Hitlerjugend_Hitler Youth_or one of its affiliates by the time membership became fully compulsory in 1939. These adolescents were recognized by the SS, an exclusive cadre of Nazi zealots, as a source of future recruits to its own elite ranks, which were made up largely of men under the age of thirty. In this book, Gerhard Rempel examines the special relationship that developed between these two most youthful and dynamic branches of the National Socialist movement and concludes that the coalition gave nazism much of its passionate energy and contributed greatly to its initial political and military success. Rempel center his analysis of the HJ-SS relationship on two branches of the Hitler Youth. The first of these, the Patrol Service, was established as a juvenile police force to pursue ideological and social deviants, political opponents, and non-conformists within the HJ and among German youth at large. Under SS influence, however, membership in the organization became a preliminary apprenticeship for boys who would go on to be agents and soldiers in such SS-controlled units as the Gestapo and Death's Head Formations. The second, the Land Service, was created by HJ to encourage a return to farm living. But this battle to reverse "the flight from the land" took on military significance as the SS sought to use the Land Service to create "defense-peasants" who would provide a reliable food supply while defending the Fatherland. The transformation of the Patrol and Land services, like that of the HJ generally, served SS ends at the same time that it secured for the Nazi regime the practical and ideological support of Germany's youth. By fostering in the Hitler Youth as "national community" of the young, the SS believed it could convert the popular movement of nazism into a protomilitary program to produce ideologically pure and committed soldiers and leaders who would keep the movement young and vital.
The Shocking True Story of the Nazi Kidnapping Conspiracy
Author: Ingrid von Oelhafen
"An emotional read... engagingly written." -- All About History magazine In 1942 Erika, a baby girl from Yugoslavia, was taken for a 'medical' examination by the Nazi occupiers. Declared an 'Aryan', she was removed from her mother; 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. 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.
The Shocking True Story of the Nazi Kidnapping Conspiracy
Author: Ingrid von Oelhafen
Publisher: Collins Publishers
Hitler's Stolen Children is a powerful, first-person account of being at the heart of one of the Nazi's cruelest and most obscene experiments--the Lebensborn program to create a new Aryan master race. In 1942, when she was nine months old, Erika Matko was stolen from her family in St. Sauerbrunn in what was then Yugoslavia and transported to Germany to be "Germanized." She was chosen because, unlike her older brother and sister, she was blond and blue eyed, and had passed a medical racial examination that classed her as Aryan. Lebensborn then farmed her out to politically vetted German foster parents. Renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen, she grew up believing she was German. Then, one day, friends of her foster family revealed the truth about her origins. This was the beginning of a life-long quest to discover the truth about her birth and the Lebensborn program. It was a journey that would take her across Germany, uncovering the terrible secrets of Lebensborn--including the kidnapping of up to half a million babies like her and the deliberate murder of those deemed "sub-standard"--and back to the village where she was born. But here she would be faced with something even more painful: a woman who for more than seventy years had been using her name--and living her life.
A record of interviews with those who experience Nazi Germany as a legacy that shapes their reminiscences of childhood. Dan Bar-On, an Israeli psychologist, went to Germany to talk to the middle-aged children of Nazis, men who ranged from minor functionaries of the Holocaust to mass murderers.
The Nazis' Program for Evacuating Children During World War II
Author: Jost Hermand
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Between 1933 and 1945, more than three million children between the ages of seven and sixteen were taken from their homes and sent to Hitler Youth paramilitary camps to be toughened up and taught how to be obedient Germans. Separated from their families, these children often endured abuse by the adults in charge. This mass phenomenon that affected a whole generation of Germans remains almost undocumented. In this memoir, Jost Hermand, a German cultural critic and historian who spent much of his youth in five different camps, writes about his experiences during this period. Hermand also gives background into the camp's creation and development.