By investigating the fate of Polish, Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian children of forced laborers, the research project focuses on a specific area of conflict between the exploitation of forced labor in Nazi Germany and Nazi racial policies during the Second World War. Children considered “racially inferior” by SS racial experts were separated from their parents and isolated in so-called “Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätten” (nurseries for foreign children), where many of them died as a result of gross neglect. In addition, the Nazi authorities facilitated forced abortions to prevent “racially unwanted offspring”, while also forcibly “Germanizing” newborns considered “racially valuable” in special homes of the NSV or the “Lebensborn e.V.”.
The “Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätten” in connection with racial examinations and forced abortions among female forced laborers were an integral part of the Nazi policy of extermination, deeply rooted in the regime's ideology, politics, and war economy. However, there are only regional studies on this topic. The present project aims to develop a new approach to social and gender history as well as to the history of reproductive decision-making under conditions of dictatorship, coercion and violence. It draws on the fate of Polish, Ukrainian and Russian children of forced laborers, a group of victims that has to date been completely marginalized and left out of historical consideration. An essential basis for this endeavor is provided by newly accessible sources of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen as well as previously unrecognized documents concerning war crime trials from archives in Poland and London. Special emphasis lies on the negotiation processes between Nazi racial policy makers and economic interest groups, taking into account institutions, places, victims and perpetrators.