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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 23:19 GMT
Nazi 'master race' children meet
A former Lebensborn child holds up a picture of his past
Hans-Ullrich Wesch shows a photo from his Lebensborn past
A group of children selected by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime with the aim of creating an Aryan master race has met openly for the first time as adults.

Children from the Nazis' "Lebensborn" or "Font of Life" project gathered in the German town of Wernigerode to discuss the trauma over their origins.

The project aimed to create a breed of people that fitted the Nazis' physical ideal and could manage a future empire.

It saw thousands of often illegitimate children placed in Nazi members' homes.

The children were frequently selected for qualities the Nazis regarded as typically Aryan, such as blonde hair, blue eyes or pale skin.

They were often adopted by the families of the Nazis' elite force, the SS. For years those children either did not know about their past or were too ashamed to discuss it in public.

Trauma and prejudice

The head of a group of people who grew up under the project said Saturday's gathering was a means of exposing myths about the system.

I was ripped away from my mother
Folker Heinicke
Former Lebensborn child

"The aim was to take the children out into the open, to encourage those affected to find out their origins," Matthias Meissner of the Lebensspuren, or "Traces of Life" group said.

He said the meeting was also a way of showing "the outside world that the cliche of the stud farm with blond-haired, blue-eyed parents is not correct".

Many children from the project grew up to face prejudice and personal problems over their origins.

Folker Heinicke, 66, was taken from his parents in Ukraine and brought up by a German family.

He told the Associated Press news agency: "There was always a feeling inside that something was not quite right."

"I was ripped away from my mother."

While thousands of children with apparently desirable Aryan qualities were nurtured by the Nazis, the regime's aim to create a perfect race also underpinned the genocide of millions of Jews and other minorities.




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Lebensborn children discuss their origins



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