The Children of Nazi Germany

The Children of Nazi Germany



    In the book_ My Father' s Keeper _by Stephan and Norbert Lebert, the stories of six children of Nazi leaders are portrayed. Journalists Stephan and Norman Lebert conducted a series of interviews and uncover the intimate background of these children. The way these stories are written is unique; it is a comparison of interviews and research done after the war in the early fifties by Norbert Lebert, and in the early nineties by Stephan Lebert. In 1959 Norbert Lebert conducted the first round of interviews, which included Wolf-Rudiger Hess, Martin Bormann junior, Niklas and Norman Frank, Gudrun Himmler, Edda Göring, and the von Schirach brothers. He focused on how the children were "bearers of notorious names that made them outcasts to some, and symbols of a lost glory to others" (Lebert). Forty years later, Lebert' s son Stephan followed up with Gudrun Himmler, and Norman and Niklas Frank, as well as the others, to find out what had become of them, and how their perspectives had changed. Stephan Lebert gives readers detailed information about his father's findings and his own interviews. Through his use of dialect, he vividly portrays the compelling stories and perspectives of these children of Nazi leaders. There are many children of Nazi leaders and they were all affected by the role their fathers played in the Holocaust. But for this project, I am specifically focusing on the history of Hans Frank, his role in the Holocaust, the interviews of hissons Niklas and Norman, and comparing it with the history and role of Heinrich Himmler, and the interviews of his daughter Gudrun Himmler.

    Both Heinrich Himmler and Hans Frank had powerful roles in the development of the Holocaust. Himmler was head of the S.S., which were the soldiers of the Nazi party, and Frank was the party jurist and governor general in Poland. Frank had a major role in the spread of Nazi efforts in Poland. These men were a part of mass killing and bloodshed while they were fathers, and they both had children who were seriously affected by their actions during the Holocaust, as well as their subsequent trials and deaths. This poses the question of what role the trials and justice of Nazi leaders played for their children, and how did this ultimately affect their opinions about their fathers? Hans Frank was "condemned at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and hanged" (Klessmann, 39). During the 1959 and 1999 interviews, Niklas and Norman Frank express strong disapproval for their father's actions, and both convey their happiness about his prosecution. Heinrich Himmler was captured and put in a British jail, however, he committed suicide before he could be tried. Unlike the Frank brothers, Gudrun Himmler's love and respect for her father stayed strong throughout both interviews.

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