Children of the Enemy:
Norway’s Lebensborn Survivors
Texas A&M University—Texarkana
Dr. Michael Perri
8 May 2008
This paper will explore one facet of the aftermath of Nazi Germany’s unique genetic experiment by examining the treatment of Lebensborn children growing up in post-war Norway. It will consider the long-term damage they have suffered due to their treatment by their own countrymen; and their continuing—and thus far unsuccessful—efforts to force the government of Norway to officially admit its responsibility for the abuses they suffered.
The story of Nazi Germany’s negative population policy—with its stated goals of exterminating eleven million Jews, thirty million Slavs, and several million other assorted undesirables; plus deporting an estimated seventy million “sub-humans” to Siberia, Africa, and Latin America by 1980--is well documented and well known.1 However, this negative policy was only one half of a two-pronged attack on the populations of Europe, for it was balanced by the Third Reich’s equally well-documented, but much less widely known, positive population policy—a policy intended to repopulate an expanded Germany with pure Aryan bloodlines.
Heinrich Himmler, architect of much of the Nazi genetic engineering program, had set a goal of filling Germany and its expanded lands (the Lebensraum) with two hundred million Aryan Germans to replace those “unworthy of life.” His plans included kidnapping children of Aryan appearance from conquered areas—in particular Poland. Those who passed racial inspection would be offered for adoption by genetically-approved German couples. He also wanted to increase the birth rate of Aryan children within Germany, which had seen birth rates drop during the twentieth century. To this end, abortion (common during and following the Great Depression) was strictly forbidden, monetary and honorary rewards for large families were written into law, and vigorous propaganda campaigns aimed at removing the social and religious stigma of illegitimate birth were instituted. Schutzstaffel (SS) men, as prime genetic stock, were ordered to father a minimum of four children each with suitably Aryan women.
Germany’s system of maternity homes was expanded, and became part of the new Lebensborn (fountain or wellspring of life) Society. Young women could give birth secretly and without censure in these homes. While there, the mothers received ample and nutritious foods, even when the rest of Germany was suffering rationing and privation. The women were promised that the German government would provide them with job opportunities and other benefits upon leaving the homes. They were also told that the children they produced would be provided for and educated by the state.
Looking beyond Germany’s borders, Himmler saw the Scandinavian countries as a great reservoir of Nordic blood available for transfusion into the new German population. The pseudo-Nordic mythology of Nazism made the populations of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Holland—believed to be descendents of the Vikings—particularly desirable for building up Germanic warrior-stock.
Lebensborn homes were planned for these countries in order to take advantage of this source of suitable genetic material. Success varied. They were never established in Denmark, and had only limited success in Sweden and the other countries. In Norway, however, these homes flourished, and in the five years preceding Germany’s defeat by the Allies an estimated ten to twelve thousand children were fathered by German men and born to Norwegian mothers.
After 13 September 1936, the newly expanded Lebensborn program was under the direction of the SS—which from that point on discreetly referred to Lebensborn in its documents as the “L office”. Heinrich Himmler was its direct supervisor. He maintained an obsessive interest in this method of creating valuable humans for population growth, even while busily overseeing the concentration camps, extermination camps, and Einsatzgruppen death squads which were carrying out the negative portion of his population policy. He insisted that babies born in the homes be given a Nazi parody of baptism, in which a dagger was held over their bodies and the mothers were required to swear allegiance to Hitler. Himmler sometimes attended these naming ceremonies, and in fact, was so enthusiastic about the program that he personally served as godfather for any Lebensborn infant who happened to be born on 7 October, his birthday.2
The first Norwegian home opened in April 1942, and soon nine others were operating in villas and hotels which had been commandeered from private ownership.3 The homes were soon filled to capacity with babies and young mothers, in contrast to those in other Scandinavian countries. In part, this was because Quislling’s collaborationist government4 signed agreements with Nazi Germany and passed laws making parents unable to forbid their underage daughters to marry or to leave home without parental permission. Children born to Norwegian women and German fathers could receive German—instead of Norwegian—citizenship under the new laws. This ensured that the infants could be easily removed to Germany for adoption—with or without their mothers, or their mothers’ consent. In addition, women of Aryan appearance were encouraged to relocate to Germany, and bear more children. In some cases, German women traveled to Norway to give birth in the homes there, farther from the dangers of Allied bombing.5
Although the plan was for Norwegian-born babies to be adopted by suitable families inside Germany, documents show that only about 250 of the Norwegian-born babies were actually sent there. Of those, some died in transit. The vast majority of them remained in Norway; and some of those who were sent to Germany were located by Allied relief agencies after the war’s end and returned to Norway. Thus, thousands of krigsbarn or war children (most of them under the age of five) were living in Norway when the collapse of Nazi Germany ended its control of their native country and negated the safety and support which had been promised to the Lebensborn mothers and babies by Himmler, the SS, and Hitler’s government.6
It seems a given that innocent children would have no need to fear retribution and cruelty in a newly liberated Allied country. Unfortunately, this was not the case. These thousands of children, abandoned by the Nazis, were not rescued and nurtured by their own countrymen as justice would demand. Instead, ironically, many of them were abused by their own families, schoolmates, and even government representatives--who saw them as shameful proof of Norway’s cooperation with Nazi Germany. As they grew up in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s most suffered pitiless discrimination as “children of the enemy.”7 Their brutal treatment was sometimes not much different from that suffered by children in the Eastern countries over-run by Nazi Germany.
That fact is documented by the accounts of aging krigsbarn or war children (as they refer to themselves) who have recently begun to speak openly of their experiences and to trace their long-hidden genealogies. As these Lebensborn survivors near retirement age, a number have begun to share their stories publicly. Like some of the survivors of the Jewish Holocaust who feel compelled to record their stories before they die or become incapacitated by age, a few of the adult children of Lebensborn also feel the need to make the world aware of the injustice that shaped their lives. Rather than sublimate their memories, they choose to remember--as an almost sacramental act; and as a caution against history repeating itself.
Violette Wallenborn, the child of a Norwegian singer and a Nazi choir director, sums up this feeling of urgency: “We need to find the courage to publicly tell our stories as long as we are still alive.”8 The consequences of Norway’s participation in Lebensborn, and the prejudice and intolerance which followed, are best described in the words and memories of its innocent victims. Here are some of their stories.
Gerd Fleischer’s mother had a love affair with a young German officer who wanted to marry her when she became pregnant. They were not allowed to marry, however, once her Nazi-required genetic examination showed that she was part Sami (Lapp). This fact also disqualified her from receiving continued benefits from the Lebensborn program. Thus, Gerd and her mother were left to live among family in their native village, where she had a relatively normal childhood until the end of the war.9
With liberation came a great nation-wide revulsion for Germany and all things German. When Gerd entered elementary school at age seven, other children called her tyskerhore--German whore. She remembers going home and asking her mother what the word meant: “It was the first bad word I learned in Norwegian.” She was frequently a victim of beatings and bullying at school: “I learned very soon that there was something very wrong with me,
basically wrong with my blood. I was the child of the hated.” Home, however, remained a refuge from the enmity she encountered at school—until her mother married. Her new step-father had been a resistance fighter and was a bitter angry man who despised all that his half-German step-daughter symbolized. “A Norwegian patriot who hated me” is Gerd’s description of him.
The young girl withstood the rejection and beatings at home until age thirteen, when she ran away. She never returned home. She lived on the streets at times but somehow managed to make a scanty living and put herself through school. She says that Norway’s social welfare organizations were aware of her situation but did not help. She finished school at seventeen, left Norway, and did not return until she was 35 years old. “I knew that if I was to become a whole person, I had to leave the country.”10
Two major turning-points of Gerd’s life came during those expatriate years. First, she traveled to Germany and located her birth father. He had married a woman who “was the spitting image” of her mother, had fathered a German family, and denied knowing her or her mother. Ms. Fleischer believes that her healing process began when she took her father to court and successfully forced him to recognize his paternity.
Secondly, while living in Mexico, Gerd rescued two young street children; and when she finally returned to Norway she took her two foster sons with her. Perhaps she had seen the suffering of her own childhood in them, and was determined to give them a chance at a decent life. In any case, her desire to help others who had suffered like herself had crystallized; for by the time she moved back to Norway, Gerd Fleischer was also determined to do what she could to seek justice for all of Norway’s ill-treated war children. She began reaching out to other krigsbarn, and encouraging them to give up the secrecy which had been forced upon them.
Gerd Fleischer was—and is—active in the organizations formed to accuse the Norwegian government of neglect, lack of protection from abuse, and active attempts to conceal the existence of the “war children.” In the past decades, she has offered support to many other war children as they began to trace their family roots and seek legal redress.
One of those adult war children is Paul Hansen. He was profoundly harmed by the government’s attempts at concealment and denial, for he was one of the hundreds of children hidden away in institutions. Most were placed in orphanages or foster homes, but Hansen was among those committed to mental hospitals. Hansen’s mother had had a brief affair with a Luftwaffe pilot and had given her baby up at birth. He was three and still living in the same Lebensborn home where he had been born, awaiting adoption, when the war ended.
These unfortunate ones like Paul Hansen—children living in groups in the Lebensborn homes, not with their mothers or maternal relatives—were wards of Nazi Germany. Hitler’s German state and the SS (entities which no longer existed) had been their sole guardians. Now they had no parents, legal guardians, nor extended families to question the disposal of their persons. Thus, many of them soon vanished into a shadowy existence, shielded from public scrutiny.
Paul was four years old when he was placed in the locked ward of a mental institution. There he was surrounded by profoundly disturbed adults and children who were incontinent, unable to feed themselves, or even speak. He was insulted and beaten by guards, and slept in feces-spattered dormitories where he was often awakened at night by the screams of psychotic patients. He received no affection, and no opportunities for normal childhood play. He would tell the employees, “I’m not insane. Let me out.” No one listened. He remained there until he was twenty-two years old.11 During those years he was never tested or diagnosed with any disability. He received no education, so, upon his eventual release in 196512 the only work for which he was qualified was unskilled menial labor such as cleaning and janitorial services.
Today Paul Hansen is nearing retirement age and still works as a janitor at a university. He has become outspoken about Norway’s treatment of its war children, and he becomes emotional when retelling the story of his childhood. “Why the hell did they send us there?” he concluded a 2005 interview with the Seattle Times. “What did we do wrong?”13 Hansen was part of the first group of war children to file suit against Norway in 2001.
Harriet von Nickel, born in Oslo, was raised by foster parents who “took every opportunity to beat the German out of me.” Her foster father often locked her up with a dog chain.14 She says she was always an outcast in her village, considered fair game for those who thought of her as rubbish left behind by the Germans. “Drunken fishermen grabbed me when I was little and carved a swastika on my forehead with a rusty nail.”15
Many of the krigsbarn recall other children throwing rocks at them and adults chasing them away from public gatherings. Anne-Lise Fredriksen says she always used to walk bent over to try to avoid attracting such attentions. Every time that one particular woman in her small fishing village spotted her she would shout, “Straighten up! I can see you, you German kid!” Anne-Lise soon developed a form of anorexia. She explains, “I didn’t eat because I wanted to be so skinny no one would see me.”16
One of the best-known of the war children is Anni-Frid Synni “Frida” Lyngstad, a member of the 1970s Swedish rock band ABBA. She is the product of a liason between her teen-aged mother, Synni, and a young German sergeant. The soldier was transferred from the small northern town before learning of the pregnancy; and Frida’s mother and grandmother were so badly treated by their acquaintances that they chose to immigrate to Sweden when the child was eighteen months old. Being raised outside of Norway did not completely insulate Lyngstad from stigma, but it spared her the worst of the abuses suffered by those who stayed.17
A man from Romsdal, in the mountains of Norway, chose to tell his story to a Norwegian magazine, but did not allow his name to be published. He says he was shuffled between at least twenty different orphanages in the years following the war. He remembers being locked in closets because he “stank” like a German, having his skin scrubbed raw with ammonia, and raped by some of the older boys—with a teacher’s knowledge and approval.
Another child, Tove Laila, was one year old when her father was killed in action, and the SS sent her from her birthplace in Norway to the home of her paternal grandparents in Eberswalde in eastern Germany. Ms. Laila remembers her time there as “the happiest period in my life.” It did not last long. In 1947, when she was six years old, a repatriation agreement between the Allies and the Norwegian government sent Tove back to her birth mother in Norway. The little girl spoke no Norwegian, was not wanted by her mother, and was beaten by her step-father when she spoke any German word. Eventually, he would also sexually abuse her.
Gerd Synnove Andersen was also returned to an unwelcoming mother, who placed the girl in an orphanage. Andersen states that she was beaten many times, and in sixth grade was sexually molested by her teacher. Once, orphanage employees locked Gerd and a little boy inside a stone pig sty for an entire day, and then mocked them for their “German stink.” They washed her with scaldingly hot water while telling her that it was the only way to wash “German children with greasy hair.” As an adolescent, she was involuntarily sterilized upon the recommendation of a pastor from the state church.18
Those of the war children who had not been given up by their mothers to be raised in Lebensborn homes for future adoption in Germany, but instead lived with their biological mothers from the time of their birth also suffered. One of these was Hugo Frebel. He and his half-brother were fathered by two different German soldiers. Their mother raised them in a small village in the Norwegian Arctic. Frebel remembers constantly hearing people whispering about the “German baby,” and even before he was of school-age someone had told him the identity of his father. As soon as he was old enough to leave home, he went to live in the Arctic wilderness with the Sami, who are indigenous reindeer herders. He found that the Sami were accepting of him; for they cared nothing about “war babies,” and they—like the war children—were shunned by much of mainstream Norwegian society.
As an adult Hugo Frebel located his biological father in Germany and traveled there to meet him. The man wanted nothing to do with him. However, it is the maternal family who raised him that continues to cause him the greatest pain. Sixty years after World War II his aunt told him, “I won’t give you a share of my inheritance because your father was German.” Frebel says he replied, “It was not my choice. I had no say in who my parents were.” His words seem to embody Norway’s national dilemma.
Even children who remained in the general population and were raised by loving mothers and maternal families were seen as somehow tainted. Not only were they offspring of the hated Germans—they were illegitimate. Bjoern Drivdal, currently secretary of the League Lebensborn, explains, “For half the population we were the German bastards. For the other half, the religious half, we were the immoral love children.”19
Why did a progressive modern country, whose people were known for their toleration and restraint, allow such intolerance and systematic child abuse? How was it possible for this to happen? How could apparently normal adults be so cruel to children? To find answers to these questions, one must examine the social and scientific climate of the time.
The most important factor is that Norway, along with other industrialized Western nations including the United States and England, had accepted the popular early-twentieth century ideas espoused by eugenics as scientific fact. Eugenics was taught in high schools and universities as a valid branch of science. Eugenics, or social hygiene, influenced public policy decisions at all levels of government. Its goal was the improvement of the human race through genetics.20
This pseudo-science ranked the various races of mankind by appearance. Supposedly each race could be accurately identified by certain physical characteristics. Specific abilities, intelligence levels, and character traits were linked to these physical characteristics. Eugenicists were trained to take intricately detailed measurements of subjects’ heads in order to determine the race, or mixture of races, in the individual. Race determined a person’s destiny; so “improvement” of human genetics by means of selective breeding, legislation, and forced sterilization of the unfit—much like the breeding of domestic animals or of hybridized plants—was seen not only as modern and scientific; but as being humane, progressive, and responsible. “Maintaining the quality of the population”21 was an openly accepted goal.
The study of genetics was still young. Popular periodicals ran articles on “genes,” so that even lay people were familiar with the trendy new scientific terminology-- and as with most new knowledge, it was over-generalized. In the 1930s, “genes” were used to explain all sorts of human behavior and human maladies which have since been proven to be unrelated to genetic inheritance.
Thus, firmly believing that heredity was destiny, it was understandable that many Norwegians (including the best educated ones) feared that these half-German babies would grow up to infect the Norwegian gene pool with German-ness; or that they would become ticking human time-bombs, passing their “bad genes” on to their offspring and dragging down the quality of life for all. Perhaps they visualized little Hitlers growing up to attack Norway from within.
The restored Norwegian government discussed deporting the thousands of half-German children as a solution to the dilemma. They first tried to send the war children to Germany but were unable to do so due to the miserable conditions in Germany following the collapse of the Third Reich. There was serious discussion of transporting them to Australia instead. That proved unfeasible, as well, so the Norwegian authorities moved the children who had been abandoned in Lebensborn homes to various Norwegian institutions where they became virtually invisible—unacknowledged and hidden.
Why were some of the war children placed in mental hospitals and psychiatric wards instead of orphanages and foster homes? The rationale for this placement was as follows: a Norwegian woman would have had to have been mentally defective to voluntarily have relations with a German. Mainstream science of the time held that mental incompetence was inherited. Therefore, these children were assumed to be mentally incompetent like their mothers and belonged in mental institutions. The Ministry of Social Affairs classified hundreds of half-German children as retarded solely because of their parentage, and the head of Norway’s largest mental hospital stated that approximately 80% of these offspring of mixed parentage would be mentally retarded.22 Another well-known doctor stated that a half-German child had as much chance of growing into a normal citizen as cellar rats had of becoming house pets.23
To place this in perspective, it must be remembered that the institutionalization of mentally, physically, or emotionally handicapped children and adults was common in all Western nations at that time—and continued to be accepted practice in the United States until the late 1970s. Parents were often encouraged to sign over responsibility for a handicapped child to the state, so that he could be placed in a state-owned facility without charge to the family. Doctors and counselors commonly advised parents of newborns with birth defects to “forget” their children, to get on with their lives, knowing that their afflicted child “would be happier with his own kind”, and that it was the kindest and best thing for all concerned. Sterilization and lobotomies were common procedures from the 1930’s through the 1960’s for those with low IQ, mental retardation, bi-polar disorder, depression—in some cases, for those with low income or criminal records.24
Another factor contributing to the krigsbarn’s treatment, quite different from concerns of eugenics and heredity, was national image. Norway was rebuilding itself and working hard to present itself to the world as a modern constitutional monarchy, clean and progressive, untainted by Nazi ideology—an ideal trading partner for other industrial nations. To this end, the governments of post-war Norway wished to distance their country from certain embarrassments of the war years—such as the fact that not all Norwegians had been members of the Resistance.25 Nor had all Norwegians had been anti-German—some actively supported Germany’s cause. Some volunteered for military service. And many, in fact, had been extremely friendly toward the occupying Germans, as evidenced by thousands of half-German children—whose existence was now ignored as much as possible. This intense national desire to forget, unify, and move forward led to brutal attempts to keep these inconvenient children out of sight.
Vengeance also played its part in the rejection and abuse of the war children, especially in the years immediately following 1945. An estimated fifty thousand Norwegian women and girls (about ten per cent of females between ages fifteen and thirty) had socialized with German soldiers during the occupation. 26 At war’s end, Norway sent fourteen thousand of them to internment camps (including an island in Oslo harbor) even though they had broken no laws. An unknown number were deported; and some had their heads shaved by their neighbors and were paraded through the streets of their hometowns, followed by angry jeering crowds.27
This brutal behavior may be explained, though not excused, by the fact that many Norwegians had been tortured, imprisoned, and executed by the occupying Germans. The country had endured a harsh five-year occupation. Norway’s legitimate government had been forced into exile. Emotions were strong, for former resistance fighters and their families saw these women as unforgivable traitors, and consequently targeted both them and their children as living symbols of collaboration with the enemy. Also—the post-war government officials, leaders, and politicians who replaced the members of the war-time puppet government headed by Quisling included many former Norwegian soldiers and resistance fighters, lending credence to survivors’ insistence that officials knew about the abuse, and in some cases were themselves the abusers.
The survivors quoted in this paper are a distinct minority of the whole; for the majority of Norway’s war children still remain silent—unable to talk about their traumatic childhood experiences, or perhaps unwilling to disturb such peace as they have been able to find. Some who have appeared in television interviews have been recognized and spat upon in public. One woman who had finally admitted that she was a war child and entered the class action suit against Norway lost the friendship of her long-time neighbor whom she had considered a close friend. The friend told her that she did not wish to associate with whore-children, nor give her taxes to pay restitution to one.28 For some, there is still a sense of shame, a sense of different-ness, a fear of being noticed too much.
Many of the adult war children suffer from stress-related illnesses and disorders. Many have had problems with drug or alcohol addiction, and very few of them have been able to maintain successful relationships. There has been a high incidence of suicide among them. Some of those who were kept in institutions believe that they were used by the government for experiments with LSD and other substances—the records to prove or disprove this are not yet available. Lobotomies, sterilization, or shock treatments left others permanently physically impaired. It is only now, as the twenty-first century begins, that the younger generations of Norwegians are becoming aware of this dark portion of their national history. So far, there is no consensus regarding a proper response.
Randi Spiedevold, the lawyer representing one of the groups who have sued the Norwegian government for damages, was born after the war and educated in Norwegian schools from preschool through law school. Yet in all those years of schooling she learned nothing about the Lebensborn program or the children produced by it. She says she feels shame on behalf of her country for how the war children were treated after World War II, and that she is still amazed that so many people knew about it, but never spoke of it. Spiedevold expressed her feelings of outrage in accented but eloquent English in a 2003 interview:
And when you see, look at Norway, as the Nobel Peace Prize
country and we are going out through all the world telling people
how to behave in war, after war, and how we have to excuse
everything and behave in a proper way towards the suffering
people…it’s amazing why we had to do these things with our
Such claims as those of Gerd Synnove Anderson (the girl whose pastor recommended her for involuntary sterilization) support the idea that public employees were among the abusers, and lend credence to accusations that some of the mistreatment was government sanctioned.
Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik used his New Year’s speech of 2000 to publicly apologize to the Lebensborn children for past mistreatment;30 yet the government has never officially accepted any responsibility for that mistreatment. The official position is that the cases fall under the statute of limitations. Government defense attorneys claim that the complaints are simply too old to be tried in court—even if true.
In 2002 the Norwegian parliament did authorize some compensation to each of the now-grown Lebensborn children—if, that is, they could prove they had suffered sufficient discrimination. The offer was for 200,000 kroner (about 16,700 pounds or 8,000 U.S. dollars.) The group refused the offer, and is asking for 34,000 pounds per person, with up to four times that amount for those who suffered the most.31
Norway’s official website now offers information on applying for ex gratia compensation. Acceptable factors listed are: “being sent back and forth between Norway and Germany, wrongful adoption, and bullying.” It is explained that “the application must include a description of what the applicant has suffered and what consequences this had for him or her subsequently.”32
How could so many, including many of the war children themselves, not know what had happened? Many Lebensborn records were destroyed by SS troops in the last days of World War II, and the records which remained were not available to the public. Himmler, along with others who had personal knowledge of the program, had been executed. Birth and foster parents simply did not talk about Lebensborn—it was a forbidden subject. Germany, in a national state of denial, did not want the subject investigated any more than did Norway.
For decades, the media did not report on the extent of Himmler’s genetic experiments. Rumors began to circulate that the Lebensborn homes had actually been bordellos, baby factories, or some sort of stud farm for Nazi officers. A titillating—but inaccurate—movie was actually filmed in the 1960s, and entitled Lebensborn. The movie’s posters featured athletically blond young women in short-shorts posed around actors in Nazi uniforms.
So, for decades, those who tried to uncover the facts of their personal past were stymied; but a breakthrough of sorts came in December of 1999, when German television reporters discovered 1,000 Lebensborn files still stored at the German government archive in Berlin. The information contained in the files made it possible for a number of survivors to trace their genealogies; and before long two Norwegian Lebensborn organizations were formed to help those who wished to discover their parentage and lend support to those who were now willing to talk about their experiences. Although their origins had been deliberately obscured as much as possible; by the early 2000s many of the children of Lebensborn were finally becoming aware of their own parentage, and beginning to understand the events of their own lives.
One group of 154 persons has hired attorney Randi Hagen Spydevold to file a class-action suit against the Norwegian government, requesting financial compensation for the years of abuse and neglect they suffered due to their status as Tyskerbarna (German bastards) and demanding that Norway admit its culpability. They accuse the Norwegian government of denying them basic human rights and of failing to protect them. Their memories of physical and mental abuse suffered in public schools, humiliation by teachers, molestation in orphanages, and mistreatment by public health personnel are consistent and horrifying; yet, to date, they have lost all cases filed in Oslo City Court, the state Appeals Court and Norway’s highest court. The case has recently been rejected by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg,33 but an appeal is in process.
The government defense attorneys continue to maintain that Norwegian authorities were never aware of the abuse of the children after the war, and therefore there is no basis for their claims of entitlement to punitive damages.
“That’s like refusing to acknowledge that gas chambers could be found during the war,” is Spydevold’s retort. In an argument which negates the claim of ignorance, the government also says that the case is now too old, and the plaintiffs have waited too long to file their claims. A third rationale given by government attorneys is that Norway cannot be held responsible for failing to protect the krigsbarn prior to 1953, which is the year it signed the European Convention on Human Rights.
In reply, Lebensborn children point out that they did not suffer only prior to 1953. Their suffering continued long after that date. Indeed—it continues today.34
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