Hitler's forgotten children [a true story of the Lebensborn program and one woman's search for her real identity]

Ingrid von Oelhafen

Book - 2016

"Created by Heinrich Himmler, the Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. In the summer of 1942, parents across Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia were required to submit their children to medical checks designed to assess racial purity. One such child, Erika Matko, was nine months old when Nazi doctors declared ...her fit to be a 'Child of Hitler.' Taken to Germany and placed with politically vetted foster parents, Erika was renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen. Many years later, Ingrid began to uncover the truth of her identity. Though the Nazis destroyed many Lebensborn records, Ingrid unearthed rare documents, including Nuremberg trial testimony about her own abduction. Following the evidence back to her place of birth, Ingrid discovered an even more shocking secret: a woman named Erika Matko, who as an infant had been given to Ingrid's mother as a replacement child. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program"--

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Subjects
Genres
Personal narratives
Published
New York : Berkley Caliber 2016.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Item Description
Previously published: London : Elliott and Thompson Limited, 2015.
Subtitle from cover.
Physical Description
ix, 275 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, plates ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780425283325
0425283321
Main Author
Ingrid von Oelhafen (author)
Other Authors
Tim Tate (author), Dorothee Schmitz-Köster, 1950- (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Through this account, von Oelhafen, with the help of best-selling author and award-winning filmmaker Tate (coauthor, Diamonds at Dinner), offers both a historical narrative and a personal memoir. The story follows von Oelhafen's life journey while presenting information about the rarely discussed Lebensborn, or "Fount of Life" program, which was created in the mid-1930s by Heinrich Himmler and the Nazi regime to preserve what was believed to be the master race of the Aryan Nation. During this period, many children in Nazi-occupied Germany deemed to have desirable racial traits were kidnapped from their homes and "Germanized" by adopted Nazi families. These children were given new names, falsified family histories, and fake documentation—von Oelhafen was one of these children. VERDICT This riveting, raw, and heart-wrenching story of misplaced identity and one woman's quest to find peace and hope in the darkest of times will intrigue a variety of readers interested in a mix of history nestled among personal memoir.—Marian Mays, Washington Talking Book & Braille Lib., Seattle [Page 83]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Created by Heinrich Himmler, the Lebensborn program abducted as many as a half million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the FinalSolution. In the summer of 1942, parents across Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia were required to submit their children to medical checks designed to assess racial purity. One such child, Erika Matko, was nine months old when Nazi doctors declared her fit to bea 'Child of Hitler.' Taken to Germany and placed with politically vetted foster parents, Erika was renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen. Many years later, Ingrid began to uncover the truth of her identity. Though the Nazis destroyed many Lebensborn records, Ingrid unearthed rare documents, including Nuremberg trial testimony about her own abduction. Following the evidence back to her place of birth, Ingrid discovered an even more shocking secret: a woman named Erika Matko, who as an infant had been given to Ingrid's mother as a replacement child. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

One of up to a half a million children stolen as part of the Nazi Lebensborn program, the author, taken to Germany and renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen, discovers the truth of her identity many years later after decades of tireless investigation during which she uncovered the awful crimes of the program and the path back to her place of birth.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The author presents the history of the Nazi program known as Lebensborn in which "Aryan-looking" children were removed from their biological parents in conquered territories, discussing her own separation from her parents and her attempts to find them after the end of the war.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Hitler’s Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program in World War 2.Created by Heinrich Himmler, the Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. In the summer of 1942, parents across Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia were required to submit their children to medical checks designed to assess racial purity. One such child, Erika Matko, was nine months old when Nazi doctors declared her fit to be a “Child of Hitler.” Taken to Germany and placed with politically vetted foster parents, Erika was renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen. Many years later, Ingrid began to uncover the truth of her identity.Though the Nazis destroyed many Lebensborn records, Ingrid unearthed rare documents, including Nuremberg trial testimony about her own abduction. Following the evidence back to her place of birth, Ingrid discovered an even more shocking secret: a woman named Erika Matko, who as an infant had been given to Ingrid’s mother as a replacement child. INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS