A key elment in the Germanization of the East was finding Germans to populate it with. A major limitation on Hitler's plans at world domination was the limited numbers of Germans. An important part of the NAZI strategy was to 'reclaim' Aryan stock from the occupied territories and turning them into cultural Germans. This process was termed Eindeutschung. The SS section responsible for Eindeutschung was Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt--RuSHA (Race and Settlement Head Office). Here the SS's authority also overlapped with Alfred Rosenberg's Ostministerium (Ministry for the Occupied East). While there were differences within the SS, there was agreement that the most of the population of the occupied East was not suitable for Eindeutschung and would have to be expelled to Siberia. The differences within the SS was the extent to which force should be used to bring about the emmigration to Siberia. [Padfield, p. 363.]
We have tranlated Eindeutschung as "Germinization" a short convenient term. An accurate term is much more complicated. Eindeutschung as program implemented by the NAZIs. The NAZIs saw Eindeutschung as the reapprpriaton of stolen genetic material. The NAZI
Eindeutschung program involved several different steps. First suitable individuals had to be identified. Second if the individuals are children, they have to be transferred to the approriate Eindeutschung authorities. Third, the children have to be culturally socialized to become Germans.
The NAZI program for Lebensraum in the east was not just to acquire territory. The plans for that territory was monsterous
beyond belief. he plan was to evacate Poles an Russians from these territories. Some would remain to serve as slave laborers.
Millions would be expelled or "evacuatd" with the understanding that large numbers would die in the process. The goal was to
make the east German. Here Reichsf�hrer Heinrich Himmler had the responsibility for persuing this effort. He appears to have
assigned his deputy Reinhard Heydrich appears to have coordinated this effort and essentially he SS's entire eastern operations. Heydrich ordered the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) (SS Security Service) in 1941 to begin the necessary planning. The Reichs-Sicherheitsdienst (RSHA) (Reich Decurity Head Office). There were differences of opinion within the SS and between the SS and Alfred Rosenberg's Ostministerium (Ministry for the Occupied East) over how to claim the East. There was
agreemnt that large numers of Slavs had to be removed to Siberia. There were differences as to the extent to which forcible evictions should take place.
Eindeutschung was one of several NAZI racil and eugenics programs that were conducted covertly. There were the T4 eutenasia program and 14f13 concentration camp euthensia killings. Both of these preceeded the mass killings in the Holocaust. Eindeutschung was also conducted covrtly nd officials discouraged the use of the term to describe the children involved. Thi wasbecause it might make the pogram more difficult to execute if it was widely known what the NAZIs were doing. In addition some Germans at home would object if it details of the program would publicized. It would also make it more difficult to place children if adoptive parents wre told that the children were Polish or Russian and not German orphans. There was also concern that the children would be stigmatized. The childrn were described as German orphanns from the reconqeredEast. [Padfield, p. 365.]
While there were differences with the SS and Ostministerium on policies and progams in the occupied territories in the East. A conference was held between the SS and Ostministerium on February 4, 1942 to resolve some of these differences. The conference was chaird by Dr. Bruno Kleist, Chief of Department I 2 (Ostland). There was general agreement that the population of the occupied territories should be assessed racially to identify individuals suitable for Eindeutschung. Itwas decided that such an assessment should be disguied as a health inquiry
Himmler in October 1940 had suggested that Polish school children in the Protectorate (I think that meant the Goverment General) could best be asessed through a form purporting to be for health purposes. Thee were medical questions such as illnesses and state of the teeth and vision as well as informatin like height and weight. The important questions for the NAZIs, however, eye and hair color. There were three categories of eye color: 1) blue, grey, and green; 2) brown and dak brown; and 3) black. There were two categories of hair color: 1) blond and 2) brown, dark brown, and black. He also wanted full facial and frontal photographs, presumably to detect Slavic features like noticeable high cheek bones. [Padfield, p. 364.]
The SS Eindeutschung program was pursued ruthlessly in the occupied East, especially in Poland. Hundreds of thousands of children were kidnapped. Many of those who did not ultimately pass the racial screening program perished in the NAZI concentration camps. The SS was much more cobtrained in the occupied countries of Western Europe. Here yhe primary concern was children fathered by German fathers. What should be born in mind is tht we are talking about German policies during World War II, a war Germany lost. The Eindeutschung program in Western Europe might have been very different if the Germans had won the War.
There was no organized kidnapping of children in France for Eindeutschung ( Germanisation ) as was the case in Poland and several other countries. The Germans had, however, a large occupation force in France. The inevitable result was a substantial number of children fathered by German soldiers. One estimate suggests 50,000 through May 1943. Himmler thought that the children of a French woman with a German soldier could produce suitable children for "Eindeutschung". Although not as entusiastic as with the children fathered by German soldiers in Norway, Himmler still saw the French children as "valuable German blood". The SS opened a Lebenborn home near Chantilly called Westwald. There were disagreements amomg the French as to how to deal with these children. Many were hostile. The widow of French General Huntzinger argued that they should be integrated into the French society. Despite the stigma of having a German boy friend, the women involved reportedly avoided the Lebensborn at Westwald because the SS insisted that the babies be given up for adoption in Germany. Another source of children was the many french prisoners and slave laborers brought from France to work in Germany and Austria. Some French men fathered babies, but these would be cared for by the mother. It was not the same for the women workers. They were obliged to give it up to a German family for adoption.
NAZI authorities considered Norway to be a rich source of Nordic breeding stock. There were no organized kidnappings that we know of, but some sources say that Norway was not imune to occasional NAZI kidnappings. More importantly, there were extensive liasons between German soldiers and Norwegian girls. More than 0.5 million German soldiers were stationed in Norway during the War. Virtually all the off-spring would be racially acceptable. Himmler regarded as direct descendants of the Wikinger, and therefore German soldiers were incouraged to have affairs with Norwegian womem. Lenensborn homes were established throughout Norway. One source suggests that there were nine homes set up, almost as many as in Germany. The homes were very attractive. The women got excellent care and good food. Conditions were very difficult during the occupation and the community would have been very hostile to women having the children of the German soldiers. Thus many Norwegian mothers made use of the homes and were treated as pampered recruits to the ranks of the NAZI master race. They had to agree to turning the baby over to the SS for repatriation to Germany. Records are incomplete, but estimates suggest up to 12,000 babies were born in these homes. [R. Abe, "Lebensborn e.V." Shoa.de website, retrieved May 3, 2002] After the German surrender, these homes were evacuated and records destroyed. While the rest of the country rejoiced upon liberation, the Lebensorn children were thrust into Mightmare lives". The mothers and other women who conorted with the Germans were despised and called "Deutschenhuren".
Eindeutschung was first pursued in Poland after the NAZI invasion launching World War II (September 1939). Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 and defeated the Polish Army in a few weeks,
introducing the world to Blitzkrieg warfare. They divided Poland woth the Soviet Union which after tghe German success invaded from the east. The SS conducted kidnappings take children children who matched NAZIs racial criteria by force. The occupation of Poland was one of the most brutal in European history. Occupation aithorities, especially the
SS, were under no legal or moral constraints as regards their conduct and the execultion of occupation policies. Poles had no recourse. The NAZI set out to eliminate the Polish intelgencia and reduce the rest of the country to a vast population of slave labor. It is estimated that a quarter of the population of Poland perished during the occupation. Thousands of Polish children were transferred to special Lebensborn centers in order to be "Germanized". Most sources estimate over 0.2 million Polish children were kidnapped.
Padfield, Peter. Himmler: Reichsf�hrer-SS (Henry Holt: New York, 1991), 656p.
Navigate the CIH World War II Section:
[Return to Main lebensborn page]
[Return to NAZI occupation policies in the East]
[Return to Main World War II displaced children page]
[Aftermath] [Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[POWs] [Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology] [Totalitarian powers]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main war essay page]
[Return to CIH Home page]