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I am thankful to the Joint Distribution Committee for the part they played in helping my Great-Grandfather find safe passage to the States. He was a happy man and thoroughly enjoyed his family and life in New York City. That this your art as far as possible Follows, as the disciple doth the master; So that your art is, as it were, God's grandchild.
From these two, art and nature, it is fitting, if you recall how Genesis begins, for men to make their way, to gain their living; From these two, if thou bringest to thy mind Genesis at the beginning, it behoves Mankind to gain their life and to advance My father looked at these illustrations when he was young.
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As victorian France's most pre-eminent illustrator, Gustave's visual genius informed generations to come of the stories of the Bible. Most had their own tales of deceit and discovery, life histories that proved to be homespun fairy tales, the dark truth buried under layers of silence. These are the children of the Lebensborn, an SS program devised to propagate Aryan traits. On this chilly weekend, they gathered here in a corner of central Germany to share their stories, and to speak publicly, for the first time, about the horror of finding out they had been bred to be the next generation of Nazi elite.
Lebensborn, or spring of life, refers to a series of clinics scattered throughout Germany and neighboring countries, to which pregnant women, most of them single, went to give birth in secret. One such clinic sits at the top of a gentle hill in Wernigerode, a remote town near the Harz Mountains. The building, long abandoned now, was part of a bittersweet homecoming tour for the 40 or so people who turned out for the meeting of an association known as Traces of Life.
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To be accepted into the Lebensborn, pregnant women had to have the right racial characteristics — blonde hair and blue eyes — prove that they had no genetic disorders, and be able to prove the identity of the father, who had to meet similar criteria. Many of the fathers were SS officers with their own families. Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, encouraged his men to sire children outside of marriage as a way of building a German master race.
Results of Secret Nazi Breeding Program: Ordinary Folks - The New York Times
About 6, to 8, people were born in these clinics in Germany between and Some still do not know the truth. Only in the last 20 years, as the wall of silence began crumbling, have researchers been able to document the Lebensborn program. They have knocked down some prurient myths: that these clinics were Nazi bordellos, stocked with flaxen-haired breeders ready to mate with SS men.
Some of the mothers gave them up for adoption to SS families. Others raised the children alone, telling them that their fathers had been killed in the war.
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Having given birth to illegitimate babies in a fervently Nazi setting, the mothers faced a double stigma in postwar Germany. Many lived out their lives in grim silence, their children say. Some developed psychological problems or turned to alcohol.
For the children, the discovery of the truth was equally traumatic. Weber, a creative writing teacher in Berlin, is still struggling to come to grips with his recently uncovered roots. Some hints from family members, followed by research, led him to the truth. Among his more unpleasant discoveries: his godfather was Himmler.