The trials of caring for a child of the ‘master race’ are explored in a fearless game that brings the past to life and reveals the damage caused by social isolation
As babies, the children of the Lebensborn programme were given VIP treatment: two baths a day, extravagant meals, round-the-clock doting of specialist nurses who would disinfect every spoon and toy before it reached the child’s lips. Taken from unmarried Aryan teenage women, some as young as 16, and their Nazi officer fathers, the Lebensborn was a nursery for Hitler’s master race, a kind of inverse Holocaust: the systematic, bureaucratic, nurture of life according to race. Around 12,000 of these children were born in Norway, whose blond-haired, blue-eyed giantesses fitted the Nazi profile of an ideal woman. When the war ended, these children, many of whom had been taken from their mothers to be raised in one of nine specialist SS homes in the country, were given up for adoption.
In My Child Lebensborn, you play as one of these adoptive parents who, in 1951, is poised to send your Lebensborn child (you choose the s*x of your charge) off to school. Yours is the straightforward existence of the rural small town – your days spent working in a factory, your evenings and weekends harvesting fruit and mushrooms from the forest or catching fish in the lake. Your child is more excited than anxious about school, eager to make new friends and learn. The systematic way in which hope and joie de vivre are stamped out as she is ostracised by her classmates, teachers and, finally, society at large is the game’s terrible, affecting theme.
My Child Lebensborn review – could you raise a Nazi baby?