To promote the growth of a desirable Aryan population, the Lebensborn program was created in late 1935. A group of homes were set up for pregnant German women to safely give birth to what Nazi authorities deemed as racially valuable children as well as to provide a means for young women to become impregnated by suitable German men. The quest for a German master-race is hauntingly fictionalized through the lives of three women in Cradles of the Reich.
In 1939 Gundi Schiller was unmarried and pregnant. As a member of the Edelweiss Pirates, a resistance group, she met and fell in love with Leo Solomon, a Jewish man, who was now missing. When she is told that she needs to enter the Lebensborn program at Heim Hochland, Gundi knows that she must protect the identity of her child's father. Single Hilde Kramer enters the program, thrilled that she is pregnant by the married and much older Obergruppenführer Werner Ziegler. She is proud to show her allegiance to the Reich. Irma Binz decides to take a position as a nurse at Heim Hochland after a life of disappointments. Unmarried and childless, she is excited to have the chance to support the women and their babies.
Through much research, author Jennifer Coburn has skillfully brought the Lebensborn program to the forefront. As with so many stories about WWII, this impactful book sheds a light on yet another dark and despicable aspect of this horrible period of history. Through historical fiction, a story of heroism and strength is told representing those who tried to make a difference amidst all the horror.
Many thanks to the author and Sourcebooks Landmark for the opportunity to read Cradles of the Reich before its publication. These types of stories are never easy to read yet they help us to never forget.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: October 11, 2022.
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