The mad dream of racial purity in Nazi Germany went so far that children regarded as “Aryan-looking” from other European countries, (most of them from Poland) were kidnapped and moved to Nazi Germany for the purpose of Germanization, or indoctrination into becoming culturally German.
With more than 200,000 victims, occupied Poland had the largest proportion of children taken. An estimated 400,000 children were abducted throughout Europe.
During the war, Himmler gave this command: “All Polish orphans need to be checked for their potential for Germanization.” The Nazi kidnapping of children was kept highly secret and operated through 6 Nazi programs, all under the leadership of the SS.
Kidnapped children were taken by force. Children were hunted in schools, parks, and markets. The Nazis also went to people’s homes with guns drawn to seize children. Some of the parents were told that their children would return. Other children were just taken with no reason to the parents.
The conditions of transfer were very harsh, as the children did not receive food or water for many days. Many children died during their transportation to Germany as a result of suffocation in the summer and cold in the winter. Polish railway workers would risk their lives just to give some food and warm clothes to the children that were transported.
Later on, children were sent to “children educational camps” where they were supposed to be tested medically, with their skulls measured, birthmarks meticulously analyzed, the color of hair or eyes considered, to determine eligibility.
During this testing process, children were divided into three groups:
- “desired population growth;”
- “acceptable population growth;”
- “undesired population growth.”
This process of “Germanization” was very harsh and brutal for the children. They were told that their parents were dead and also to forget their home, their country of origin and brainwashed into Nazi ideology.
During this brutal process, the children were given German names often closely related to their real names. They were compelled to learn German and beaten if they persisted in speaking Polish. Children that couldn’t learn German or remembered their Polish origin were sent to youth camps back in Poland.
After the testing process, children were placed for adoption. They were given new birth certificates to hide their Polish origin. In the process, they were referred to as “Polonized German children” or “Children of German descent” or even “German orphans.”
Just to know how brutal this process was for the children, there were children that lived and died believing themselves to be Germans.
It’s believed that that today hundreds of thousands of Germans might be descended from kidnapped Polish children. However, it is very unlikely that people are aware of having hidden Polish ancestry.