Lebensborn by Jo Ann Bender

LebensbornReviewed by Teri Davis

The Nazi government firmly believed in their supremacy as part of the Aryan race. The future of this belief depended on many healthy children resembling their ideals. Children who looked Aryan were often integrated, basically kidnapped, into their orphanages to insure genetic diversity for the superior race.

Antoinette Gauthier lives in France during the summer of 1941 when the Germans begin to inhabit their small town. The new rule wants the people to turn in those neighbors, families, and friends who might be of a Jewish background. The town chooses to be loyal to their longtime friends. When the local commander is frustrated by this loyalty, he orders the town residents to turn in their pets to the Nazis. Why? The former mayor and a volunteer helper assist in collecting these animals for what seems to be a demoralizing lesson for the residents and certain death for the animals. When an elderly couple refuses to give up their pet, they are publically and cruelly killed.

Being the mayor’s daughter, Antoinette finds that her home is now inhabited by the S.S. forcing her to live in the attic with her father. Fortunately, she is a wonderful cook and attracts the attention of Major Hurst. Hurst knows what he needs for promotion and has plans for his future such as marrying soon to the correct type of wife. Unfortunately, his fiancé only wants one child. Being that S.S. officers are promoted by having large families, he plans to adopt many children into his family.

Major Hurst is charmed by Antoinette. He arranges for several outings also with a friend of hers and another officer. When Antoinette finds herself pregnant, Major Hurst arranges for her to leave the town and move to Germany for a program known as Lebensborn. His intent is to eventually adopt this child into his family which will insure his promotion and the future of the Aryan race. The story deals with Antoinette and her life at Lebensborn.

The author Jo Ann Bender grew up in the area of Wisconsin and Iowa and now lives in the state of Washington while running a bed and breakfast called the Lazy Bee.

Lebensborn is spellbinding. The intensity of Antoinette’s character is realistic and masterfully written. This historical aspect was accurate and enhancing of events that are not often mentioned with the Nazi movement. This is a page turner and my one regret was that the book ended. I would definitely place Lebensborn as one of the best novels I have read this past year.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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