2019 - Ongoing
In 1935, almost 85 years ago, a new program was instated in Nazi Germany to provide the Third Reich with new leaders and SS-officers; Lebensborn (‘Source of life’). SS-officers were prompted to propagate as much as possible, extramarital as well. In multiple clinical facilities spread across Germany, Norway, Belgium, France and Poland (unwedded) women could bare their children if they met up with Aryan racial
standards. The children usually were adopted by SS-families or other families that were of pure Aryan race. The architect behind this plan, Heinrich Himmler, wanted to improve the quality of race with these blue eyed, light skinned and blond children for the new empire that was being built on National Socialistic grounds. When the program deemed not to be as effective thousands of children with blond hair and blue eyes were abducted from Eastern-Europe and brought to German homes for them to ‘Germanise’. They were tested by racial experts to ensure their purity of race. Children who didn’t meet the standards were sent to concentration camps to work or they were abolished.
The scale of Lebensborn is so enormous, incomprehensible and horrible that I think this should never be forgotten. That is why I am documenting every bit of it. When thinking of our society and it’s current flirts with nationalism it is, certainly now, important to document these stories from the past. It is the ultimate example of a disturbingly shifted feeling of superiority. The children that were born in the Lebensborn homes are now between 75 and 85 years old and are still able to tell their stories themselves. For the project I have been talking to these Lebensborn children and and collecting their stories and memories. Next to that I am photographing archival material, relevant objects and documents and I am visiting the maternity homes and children’s homes in Germany, Norway, Austria, Poland, Belgium and France, where mothers gave birth to their Aryan children.