[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ERLIN – In 1936, Nazi supporter and school graduate Hildegard Trutz was recruited as one of Germany’s racially ‘pure’ women, chosen to sleep with SS officers in the hope of producing an Aryan child.
It is estimated that some 20,000 such babies were bred during the 12 years of the Third Reich, principally in Germany and Norway.
This bizarre tale, which you can read below in full, features in Giles Milton’s new curious history book, Fascinating Footnotes From History.
Spanning 20 centuries and six continents, the book rounds up 100 of the quirkiest historical happenings.
Here, courtesy of publisher John Murray, you can read the extract “The Woman Who Gave Birth for Hitler”.
Hildegard Trutz had been a loyal supporter of the Nazis ever since Hitler came to power.
She had joined the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM, the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth) in 1933 and loved attending its weekly meetings. “I was mad about Adolf Hitler and our new better Germany,’ she later admitted. ‘I learned how tremendously valuable we young people were to Germany.”
In b, when she was eighteen, Trutz finished her schooling and was at a loss as to what to do next.
She chatted with a BDM leader who made a suggestion that was to change Trutz’s life for ever. “If you don’t know what to do,” said the leader, why not give the Führer a child? What Germany needs more than anything is racially valuable stock.:
Trutz was unaware of the state-sponsored program known as Lebensborn. Its aim was to raise the birth rate of blond-haired, blue-eyed ‘Aryan’ children through interbreeding.
Racially ‘pure’ women were chosen to sleep with SS officers in the hope that they would fall pregnant.
The BDM leader explained to her exactly how Lebensborn worked. She would be given a series of medical tests, along with a thorough investigation of her background. It was essential that she had no Jewish blood. Once given the all-clear, she would be able to select a breeding partner from a group of SS officers.
Trutz listened with growing enthusiasm. ‘It sounded wonderful,’ she later admitted, and she signed up immediately. Aware that her parents would disapprove, she told them she was undertaking a residential course in National Socialism.
She was escorted to an old castle in Bavaria, near the Tegernsee. There were forty other girls in residence and all were living under assumed names.
The castle itself was the height of luxury. There were common rooms for sports and games, a library, music room and even a cinema.
‘The whole place was in the charge of a professor, a high-up SS doctor, who examined each of us very thoroughly as soon as we arrived, she said.
The professor also warned the girls that they would have to sign a document renouncing all claims to any children they produced, as they were to be the property of the state.
After their initiation, Trutz and the other girls were introduced to the SS men who were to be their breeding partners.We were given about a week to pick the man we liked, When we had made our choice, we had to wait until the tenth day after the beginning of the last period.’ Each girl was given another medical examination and told to receive her chosen SS man in her room that very night.
Trutz fell pregnant almost immediately and was moved into a maternity home for the next nine months.
She weaned her baby son for two weeks and then he was removed from her side and taken to a special SS home where he was to be brought up as a loyal servant of the Nazi state. Trutz never saw him again. Nor, for that matter, did she see the father.
In the years that followed she was tempted to breed more children, but she eventually fell in love with a young officer and they got married. When she told her new husband about her involvement in the Lebensborn program, she was ‘rather surprised to find that he was not as pleased about it as he might have been’.
But he could not openly criticize her, ‘seeing that I had been doing my duty to the Führer’.
Trutz never discovered what became of her child and his eventual fate remains a mystery.