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Creation 29(4):32–34, September 2007

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Hitler’s ‘master race’ children haunted by their past


U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Richard Freimark. Hitler

Between 1935 and 1945, there were born some 10,000 children in Germany and an estimated 9,000 in Norway as part of a Nazi genetic engineering plan to build up an Aryan ‘master-race’ or super-breed of humanity. This scheme was known as the Lebensborn or ‘Fountain of Life’ program. Special clinics were set up where SS men1 were encouraged to mate with blue-eyed, blonde Nordic girls who had no Jewish ancestry, in order to produce ‘racially pure’ German offspring. The resultant babies were then brought up in the foster care of dedicated Nazi couples or reared in special orphanages.

There were at least ten Lebensborn homes in Germany,2 and nine in Nazi-occupied Norway, where the unmarried pregnant women could give birth in secret away from their homes.3 The babies were christened in a ritual in which an SS dagger was held over them as the mother swore allegiance to Nazi ideology.4 If any of the children born into the program were disabled, they were killed or sent to concentration camps.5

The babies were christened in a ritual in which an SS dagger was held over them as the mother swore allegiance to Nazi ideology.

Social Darwinism in action

This was social Darwinism or eugenics in action. Eugenics is the application of Darwinian evolution to produce better offspring by improving the birthrate of the ‘fit’ and reducing the birthrate of the ‘less fit’.6 The Lebensborn homes took care of the former, hurrying natural selection along; the concentration camps dealt with the latter,7 exterminating up to 11 million ‘useless eaters’, as authenticated and documented at the Nuremberg Trials.

The Germany of Hitler’s day was steeped in this social Darwinism. This was principally because:

  1. Darwin’s Origin of Species had been translated into German in 1860,8 followed by his Descent of Man in 1875 (which showed that Darwin was himself a social Darwinist!). And their logical sequel, articles on eugenics, by Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, had been translated into German by the early 1900s.

  2. Ernst Haeckel (Prof. of Zoology at Jena University in Germany from 1865 to 1909) had become ‘Darwin’s chief European apostle proclaiming the Gospel of evolution with evangelistic fervor, not only to the university intelligentsia but to the common man by popular books and to the working classes by lectures in rented halls.’9

  3. The German nation had been subjected for many years to the ‘God-is-dead’ atheism of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900). Nietzsche believed that (his version of) evolution would eventually produce the Übermensch, ‘a superman whose distance from the ordinary man is greater than the distance between man and ape’.10 Then a ‘super-race’ of such beings would impose its will on the weak and the worthless.

Consequently, social Darwinism became accepted throughout Germany because it was considered by most Germans (scientists and many church leaders included) to be scientifically true. Bergman sarcastically comments: ‘And what greater authority than science could racists have for their views?’11

Hitler and Darwin

AP Hitler
Violetta Wallenborn, with a photo of herself in the arms of her father, during a 2006 visit to the former Lebensborn home ‘Harz’ in Wernigerode, Germany. She was one of the children selected and ‘bred’ by the Nazis for their ‘Aryan’ qualities as part of Adolf Hitler’s quest to build a master race.

In due course, Hitler became the chief promulgator of Darwinist racist views. In his autobiography, Mein Kampf (11 million copies published—the title means ‘My Struggle’), commenting on the news that a ‘Negro’ had become a lawyer, Hitler wrote, ‘… it is an act of criminal insanity to train a being who is only an anthropoid [ape] by birth until the pretence can be made that he has been turned into a lawyer’.12

Richard Weikart, professor of modern European history at California State University writes, ‘Since Hitler viewed evolutionary progress as essentially good, he believed that the highest good is to cooperate with the evolutionary process. … If evolution provided the ends, the Darwinian mechanism suggested the means: increase the population of the “most fit” people to displace others in the struggle for existence.’13 This was the rationale for the Lebensborn program.

Evolutionary ideas infest all that is worst in Mein Kampf. The book abounds with concepts like struggle, selection, survival of the fittest, extinction of the weak, mixing one’s blood, etc. For example, Hitler wrote, ‘He who does not wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.’14

On the idea that pacifism could result in chaos, he wrote that ‘our planet has been moving through the spaces of ether for millions and millions of years, uninhabited by men, and at some future date may easily begin to do so again—if men should forget that wherever they have reached a superior level of existence, it was … by acknowledging and rigorously observing the iron laws of Nature.’15

Hitler justified his racism by appealing to Darwinian science.

Hitler justified his racism by appealing to Darwinian science. He wrote, ‘The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all.’16 (Emphasis added.)

Hitler continued, ‘If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts,throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.’17 (Emphasis added.)

A cry for acceptance

Instead of becoming part of the new master race, the children procreated in the Lebensborn homes suffered greatly after WWII, with the collapse of Nazi Germany. As illegitimate babies from a Nazi propagation program, many lived out their lives in confusion and ostracism. For others, discovering the truth was equally traumatic.2 In Norway, those born of Norwegian mothers and German soldiers—‘children of the enemy’—faced pitiless discrimination and were often harassed, beaten, and called ‘Nazi swine’.

In November 2006, some 40 of the survivors met in Wernigerode, Germany, (‘where the Harz Lebensborn home contributed over 1,100 babies to the scheme’) for mutual encouragement and to confront their past life of shame and the horror of finding out they had been bred in clinics to be the next generation of Nazi elite.

Those present ‘showed little of the aura of the supermen and women they were created to be. They were racked with the ailments of ordinary aging, some stooped, some portly, many dark-haired, plenty with poor vision and hearing impairments.’18

Lebensborn child Ursula Jaeckel, now 62, told how she was abused by other children and by her foster mother, after the war was lost.18 Gisela Heidenreich, born in a Lebensborn home in Norway, was the daughter of an SS commander and a German secretary. Her childhood was filled with abuse and rage from her foster parents and her fellow school children. ‘We were created to be a super race and we ended up merely asking, “Who am I? How did I get here?”’ she said.19 Helga Kahrau says, ‘Being a Lebensborn child is still a source of shame.’2 This shame is the bitter legacy for those who were produced to rule the world—innocent pawns in the Nazis’ diabolical game.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy Unknown Provenance. Hitler’s army

Relevance for today

The idea that one race, and in particular the white race, and especially the Nordic/Aryan/Teutonic/German sector, is superior to all others is total fallacy. But it was enthusiastically taught in American classrooms by Hunter’s Civic Biology, the textbook at the centre of the Scopes trial in 1925.

The Bible tells us that we are all related because we are all descended from one couple, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:20, Acts 17:26), and then, following the Flood, from one family group, that of Noah (Genesis 7:23; 9:1).

Indeed, if Hitler and his Nazi associates had fully accepted and consistently acted on the belief that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve and so are equal before the Creator God, as taught in the Bible in both the Old Testament and New Testament, neither the Lebensborn program with all of its pain, nor the Holocaust with all of its horrors, would ever have happened.

References and notes

  1. SS: German: Schutzstaffel, originally Hitler’s ‘Protective Squadron’ bodyguard that grew into one of the most powerful and brutal Nazi organizations. Return to text.
  2. Most Lebensborn archives were destroyed by the SS at the end of WWII, but recently some surviving records have been found in Berlin. Hammer, J., Hitler’s children, Newsweek International, 20 March 2000, www.rickross.com/reference/hate_groups/hategroups164.html. Return to text.
  3. There were also Lebensborn homes in Austria, France, Belgium, Holland, Poland and Luxembourg (ref. 4). In addition, many thousands of children with ‘Aryan’ characteristics were kidnapped from occupied East European countries and removed to Germany. Return to text.
  4. ‘Himmler was my godfather’, www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2439127,00.html, 14 December 2006. Return to text.
  5. BBC News, Nazi past haunts ‘Aryan’ children, 13 June 2005, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/europe/4080822.stm. Return to text.
  6. The term ‘eugenics’, meaning ‘well-born’, was coined by Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, in 1883. See Grigg, R., Eugenics … death of the defenceless, Creation 28(1):18–22, 2005. Return to text.
  7. The Lebensborn program and the ‘final solution’ gas chambers program were both supervised by Hitler’s second-in-command, SS Reichsfuehrer (Commander-in-Chief) Heinrich Himmler. Return to text.
  8. The 2nd edition of Darwin’s Origin was translated in 1863, the 3rd edition in 1867, the 6th edition in 1876, and a new German translation was published in 1916. Return to text.
  9. Taylor, I., In the Minds of Men, TFE Publishing, Toronto, p. 185, 1984. See also Grigg, R., Ernst Haeckel: Evangelist for evolution and apostle of deceit, Creation 18(2):33–36, 1996. Return to text.
  10. Encyclopaedia Britannica 24:938, 15th edition, 1992. Return to text.
  11. Bergman, J., Darwinism and the Nazi race holocaust, Journal of Creation 13(2):101–111, 1999. Return to text.
  12. Hitler, A., Mein Kampf, English translation by James Murphy, 1939, Fredonia Classics, New York, p. 401, 2003. Return to text.
  13. Weikart, R., From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 211 and 215, 2004. See review by Sarfati, J., The Darwinian roots of the Nazi tree, Creation 27(4):39, 2005. Return to text.
  14. Ref. 12, p. 266. Return to text.
  15. Ref. 12, p. 265. Return to text.
  16. Ref. 12, p. 262. Return to text.
  17. Ref. 12, p. 263. Return to text.
  18. The Scotsman, ‘Master-race’ children revisit past, 6 November 2006, news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1640452006. Return to text.
  19. Hall, A., (Daily Mail) Hitler’s children living in torment, Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 7 November 2006, p. 26. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Paula S.
Listening to Glen Beck's radio program yesterday morning, I was astounded to hear him talk about a woman on the Dr. Phil TV show who wants to be allowed to kill her disabled children, even as I was reading this article on your site. Her two disabled children (now adults in their 20's) are in a nursing home, and according to her descripion they are like "newborn babies"....therefore she feels she has the right to kill them to 'put them out of their misery". She was supported by the attorney for the late Dr. Kevorkian (assisted suicide advocate) who said “You know we’re not disagreeing here. The only question is nobody should ever make you do something you don’t believe in,[i.e., making you keep your children alive when you would rather kill them].... Government shouldn’t make her do that,". The whole thing reeks of post-modernist mentality and moral relativism. In commenting on this program, Glen Beck made the connection between this mentality and the Nazi practice of killing the infirm and handicapped before moving on to the Jews.
The most astonishing and indeed frightening thing about this is that a good 90% of the audience agreed with the woman who wanted to kill her kids. If this is a barometer of national sentiment we are in serious trouble. I used to wonder how it was possible for Hitler to get the following of an entire nation behind his evil and hateful schemes but the very same thing is happening all over again right under our noses.
John T.
This is an excellent exposé on the quintessential role that Darwinism played in the formation of Nazi racial genocide. It ought to be required reading for the “new atheists” who insist that Christianity causes violence and if only we would all accept “scientific” Darwinism we’d have peace.
One key thing should be added. Mr. Grigg rightly mentions the deleterious influence of Nietzsche’s philosophy on the German people, but what preceded both Darwinism and Nietzsche, and created the spiritual vacuum that allowed both of these to be accepted wholeheartedly, was the devastating effect of centuries of liberal historical criticism and textual criticism in undermining the Scriptures. Germany was the epicentre of liberal scholarship, and it was the work of men such as Bengel, Semler, Griesbach, F.C. Baur, D.F. Strauss, K.H. Graff, and Julius Wellhausen that destroyed the credibility of the Bible in the minds of the public and paved the way for Nazism. The extent to which the claims of liberal scholarship continues to influence even evangelical scholarship ought to be of concern to CMI.
Colin M.
Another factor that gave rise to this shameful and destructive period of human history was the relentless attack on the Bible in Germany throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries by the proponents of so-called "higher criticism". The diminished respect then held for God's Word, primed the German church for capitulation to the Nazis. Human tragedy always follows when we fail to trust in God's Word.
Colin M.
Another factor that gave rise to this shameful and destructive period of human history was the relentless attack on the Bible in Germany throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries by the proponents of so-called "higher criticism". The diminished respect then held for God's Word, primed the German church for capitulation to the Nazis. Human tragedy always follows when we fail to trust in God's Word.
Richard William N.
Timely and excellent article since "social Darwinism" is gaining legitimacy, once again, in the media following the aftermath of Obama's recent comments.
B. S.
My heart is so sad for all those children who grew up without the security and love every child should have.
It still boggles my mind that our Heavenly Father still loves us (mankind) even though we can be so cruel to each other. How can our hearts not be thankful and praise Him for His mercy. Now let's show mercy to each other.

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