The Last Nazis: Children of the Master Race (2009) Movie Script

'In Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a secret plan was hatched
'to create a master race of blond-haired, blue-eyed children.
'While war raged and millions were murdered,
'these elite children were bred to populate the Reich
'that would rule for 1,000 years.'
Did they want me as a child?
Or just did they want somebody
as an ideological person for the system?
'The project was called Lebensborn,
'and was the brainchild of SS chief Heinrich Himmler.
'He said, "Should we succeed in establishing this Nordic race,
'and from this seedbed produce a race of 200 million, then the world will belong to us.'
The date of my first birthday,
"From your Godfather, H Himmler."
One of the worst criminals in Germany.
'For the Lebensborn children there would be a tragic outcome.'
'70 years after World War II began, this film reveals
'what has become of the children who were born to be the master race.
'After a life of lies and deception,
'Guntram Weber finally discovered that he was a Lebensborn child,
'the illegitimate son of a leading SS officer.
'These shocking revelations
'have led him to retrace his father's footsteps
'to the autumn of 1939,
'in an attempt to understand his own past.'
He crossed into Poland.
Carrying his gun.
And carrying a list of people he was going to arrest and kill.
And he knew what he was going to do. And he wanted to do it.
'One stop on Guntram's journey will be the home in Poland
'where he spent early childhood.
'But this was no ordinary upbringing
'with a mother, father, brothers and sisters.'
I spent my earliest 15 months here and I know next to nothing about it.
There are lots of secrets connected with that.
And most of them are unpleasant.
This is strange.
The floor looks... I don't know.
Familiar. Familiar.
'Guntram's first home was one of 30
'built across the German empire by Heinrich Himmler from 1935 onwards.
'Their purpose to nurse a special class of illegitimate children
'capable of becoming the new master race.
'This project Himmler called Lebensborn or "fountain of life".
'Like Guntram Weber, Gisela Heindenreich was brought up in a Lebensborn home.'
Himmler first said, "We have to avoid abortions.
"Because too much of this precious German blood is getting lost."
Then he said, "We make an institution called Lebensborn to help women who are pregnant."
Now, here's the "but".
"Only to women of good blood."
This was what Lebensborn actually was.
They accepted only women fitting the racial "correct" type.
'Every last detail of the Lebensborn project was overseen
'by Himmler's watchful fanatical eye.
'Himmler had rapidly risen to become head of the SS and the Gestapo.
'Born into a middle-class Catholic family,
'he became a chicken farmer with a particular obsession
'for the breeding of genetically pure white hens.
'It was natural for Hitler to entrust him
'with the Nazis' programme to create a new master race.
'But who would be the sexual engine behind this patriotic procreation?
'Himmler's very own SS.
'Hitler said, "I do not doubt, within 100 years
'"all the German elite will be a product of the SS."
'They became simultaneously an instrument of terror
'and the genetic seed for the so-called "Aryan race".
'Together with specially selected blond-haired blue-eyed wives,
'they were encouraged to have large families.
'But Himmler soon realised
'that the strictures of married life slowed up the breeding process.
'He encouraged his men to extend their carnal duties beyond the marital bed,
'with Lebensborn on hand for the new single mothers and their children.
'Himmler said,
"I have systematically defied existing laws and explained to my men
"that children are always a blessing.
'"Now my men tell me with shining eyes
'"that they have just had an illegitimate child.
'"The girls regard it as an honour, not a disgrace."'
GISELA: Like never before in their life, they had an importance,
which they had not had before.
You were selected to be somebody who will have a child.
The child will be an Aryan child.
This child will be part of the so-called master race
so you are important yourself.
They had evenings with music and dances,
but also with training of Nazi ideology.
I had contact with women who said it was the best time of their life.
They had nice stuff.
Everything was OK.
They felt like, "You are a sister of mine. We have the same ideology."
'For the Lebensborn children themselves,
'their daily routines were tailored to serve the Reich
'and prepare them for their destiny.'
GUNTRAM: Imagine 30 babies in one room,
where the nurses are instructed not to answer signals from the babies.
As a baby, you would utter certain desires. The desire to be fed.
The desire to be cleaned. The desire for warmth, for cuddling.
For whatever.
Your desires would not be answered.
And that was...that was...programme.
It was not just, you know, that they forgot.
It was a programme
to break your will.
Once you have broken a person's will you can install your own order.
'In Lebensborn homes, fathers remained anonymous.
'The Reich was the authority.
'Himmler even became Godfather to a carefully selected few.'
'Guntram Weber's mother refused to reveal his father's identity.
'As he grew up in post-war Germany,
'the desire to know where he came from grew ever stronger.'
I was consciously looking to solve the secrets
that my mother and my stepfather and the older generation left me with.
I had questions about myself.
So, one day, when there was no-one else in the house,
I went and I opened the wardrobe
and I looked at the strongbox and the key was on it.
So I took it, unlocked it, looked in...
SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH ..found lots of papers.
None about myself.
None about myself, but I found a silver cup.
It gives the date of my first birthday
and then it says, "From your Godfather, H Himmler."
I knew the name Himmler, even at 15 and 16.
And I knew the man was a...
was a...criminal,
one of the worst criminals in Germany.
That indicated that my father must have been high up,
somewhere close to Himmler.
'Himmler was Godfather to at least 50 Lebensborn offspring
'sired by his closest SS colleagues.
'He himself practised what he preached,
'producing two illegitimate children of his own.'
There was a shelf at the library with new acquisitions.
I would go through all the books that came out
about national socialism.
I was especially interested in looking at the photos.
And I, er... I tried to determine whether there was any similarity
between myself and people on those photos.
'It wasn't until many years later
'that Guntram's stepfather finally told him who his real father was.
'Ludolf von Alvensleben,
'a dedicated Nazi, a high-ranking SS officer
'and Himmler's adjutant.
'In 1939, Alvensleben proved his loyalty to Hitler
'and the Nazi regime in the most brutal fashion.
'On 1st September 1939, Germany invaded Poland
'and started World War II.
'Hitler had ordered that Poland be reduced to a slave nation.
'Its aristocracy, clergy and intelligentsia were to be wiped out.
'During the invasion, Alvensleben led the Selbstschutz,
'a brutal paramilitary organisation made up of Germans living in Poland.
'Alvensleben told his men,
'"You are now the master race here. Don't be soft. Be merciless.
'"Clear out everything that is non-German."'
I will never understand how they came
to do the kinds of things they did...
..convinced they would get away with it.
They were even thinking they could rule the whole world,
convinced they would get territories for the...
LAUGHING: ..for the master race.
You know. Which was to govern the world.
'Guntram is heading to the War Crimes Office
'in Bydgoszcz, the town his father used as a Polish base.
'He and researcher Chris Dziadzielwialski
'have been granted rare access to view criminal case files
'detailing Alvensleben's crimes.
'Death Valley just outside town was the site of one of them.'
Death Valley, or the Fordon Valley, as it used to be known,
was a desolate and secluded forest,
away from the city of Bydgoszcz.
The Germans were transporting the people
and they were digging ditches
and then executing people there
during the war.
As you can see, this is case after case, after case.
Some are still open, still people seeking justice.
'On one day, 7 October 1939,
'Alvensleben's men executed over 4,000 Poles
'who were piled into shallow graves and left to rot in Death Valley.'
It does mention specific names of victims.
Here it mentions Betty Israel.
Betty Levine.
In Fordon.
And Fordon again.
Then Fordon again.
Always, um...
these killings always happened
with the participation of the Selbstschutz.
And there are pictures of victims.
There's a word "Zamordowany" which is "murdered".
And there are their names.
Franciszka Rupinska, Aniela Rupinska. Sisters or related.
You see photos of people
and they were killed just for having a certain nationality.
It's easy to put away written documents,
but it's not easy to put away the photos and the pictures.
'After the war, Guntram's father was captured by the Allies but escaped.
'Like many high-ranking Nazi war criminals,
'he fled to the safe haven of Latin America,
'living out his life as a free man in Argentina.'
I remember seeing some of the statements he made after the war,
when he was far away from Germany.
One of the statements was,
"There was something at the beginning of the war, but that wasn't much."
30,000 dead people in this area in three months.
I don't know what to say to someone who makes that kind of statement.
"Oh. There was something at the beginning of the war, but that wasn't much."
'Guntram's father's role in the "racial cleansing" of Poland
'was all part of a plan to accommodate the new master race,
'clearing Eastern Europe so that Lebensborn children, like his son,
'could settle there in an expanded Reich.
'Himmler said,
'"Should we succeed in establishing this Nordic race,
'"and from this seedbed produce a race of 200 million,
'"then the world will belong to us."
'Fuelling the empire's expansion by breeding was too slow for Himmler,
'so he turned to other means to expand the Lebensborn.
'He said, "I intend to take German blood from wherever it is found
'"and steal it wherever I can."
'Himmler instructed Lebensborn operatives
'to go out and kidnap "Aryan" children from their parents
'in the occupied eastern territories.
'Folker Heinecke discovered years after the war
'that he had been abducted from the Ukraine, trafficked to Poland,
'and forced into the Lebensborn programme.'
'Children like Folker were Germanised
'and forbidden to speak their own language.
'By the end of the war, over 200,000 "Aryan" children
'had been stolen from Poland and Russia alone.
'Building a numerically and physically superior master race
'was at the core of Nazi ideology.
'Hitler had perverted Darwin's survival of the fittest
'to justify his notion that a strong race should prove a right to exist.'
GISELA: The idea was that there is a special race, the so-called Nordic race.
Blond, blue-eyed people and a special height
are the more precious race.
And they also have a good character.
This crazy maniac idea was that the Aryan race should be,
because they were so precious, should finally reign the world, this was the idea.
CROWD CHANTS: Heil Hitler!
GUNTRAM: Look at them closely. Look at them closely.
Many of them were crazy.
They happened to be able
to be in power.
And they assumed that... it was their right
to shape all of Germany in their own image.
'This new world order had no space for flawed imperfection
'or genetic corruption.
'After all, why should the hard-working Germans
'be burdened by the impure?
'While the Nazi propaganda machine was spreading hatred,
'Dorothea Buck was a school student living near the north German coast.'
'Hitler himself had always been an advocate of enforced sterilisation,
'arguing its case long before he came to power in 1933.
'Following a nervous breakdown in 1936,
'19-year-old Dorothea discovered how quickly Hitler's policy
'had become actual medical practice.'
'Dorothea was one of 350,000 forcibly sterilised
'because they were mentally ill, blind or even just depressed.
'Master race logic soon dictated
'that sterilisation would progress to extermination.
'In the autumn of 1939, while Hitler unleashed Nazi barbarity in Poland,
'in Germany he also sanctioned a secret euthanasia programme.
'Over the next two years, more than 70,000 genetic undesirables were murdered.
'Dozens at a time were crammed into small gas chambers,
'their brains dissected on crude tables for genetic research.'
If the Nazis would have known all the scientific results
of genetic experiments, if they knew what we know now - my God!
I had times when I felt like shivering
and, my God!
Well, we have to be very happy that they lost the war.
'After Germany's defeat in 1945,
'the world began to see the full horrors of the Nazi regime.
'Millions had been systematically wiped out.
'The Nazi experiment lay in tatters, Germany shamed and in ruins.
'Although Hitler and Himmler had committed suicide,
'over the next two years, the Nuremberg trials put 200
'of the surviving key architects of the regime to justice.'
This tribunal sentences you to ten years in prison.
'Lebensborn leaders escaped prosecution,
'claiming the programme was merely a socially progressive network for orphans and illegitimate children.
'After Nuremberg, many Lebensborn mothers, still loyal to the Reich,
'continued lying to their children about their origins.'
GISELA: I felt it.
I felt that there was something...
It was always since I was a child, something was wrong with me.
My story is that I was born in a Lebensborn home in Oslo.
My mother was employee of the Lebensborn
and she was still working in Oslo.
Then she came back with this little baby to her sister and said,
"I brought you an orphan from Norway. Didn't you always want a girl?"
So I was brought up in my very first three years,
I thought my aunt was my mother and my cousins were my brothers.
'After the war,
'Gisela's uncle, the man she thought to be her father,
'was freed by the Allies and returned home.'
I was about three, three and a half.
The boys, who were some years older, said, "Papa is coming!"
So Gissie also said, "My papa is coming back!"
Then this guy said, "What is this SS bastard doing here in my family?"
This was the shock of my small life.
That I was a "SS bastard". I didn't know the word, of course.
Then he said, "This is not my child." And I was lost.
'When Gisela's real mother came forward,
'she was told yet another story about her daughter's origins.'
They told me my father died in Russia,
which was normal for my generation.
I didn't have a picture from him. This was also...
Other children whose fathers had been killed in the war,
they had pictures, she didn't have.
She said she was his fiancee.
She hadn't had time before he had to go to the war. And of course.
If he had come back, then of course they would have married.
I stopped asking because I felt this is a wound in my mother.
GUNTRAM: After the war, the adults were obviously trying to stay out of politics.
They refused to talk about the past. They did not praise Hitler.
They did not praise national socialism,
but they defended many of the things that happened.
But as the years passed and orphans of the war came of age,
'countless stories emerged about the Nazi era.
'Gisela learned about Lebensborn from an article in the German press.
'It described the homes as anonymous breeding farms.'
GISELA: Oh, my God! My father was a stud who had to produce children.
My mother was a whore?
This is how I found out I was a Lebensborn child.
They wrote it like this. This was horrible!
I had to survive believing I was the result of...
some...stud and whore.
And I didn't want to ask her.
She also read this article in a newspaper.
She never said one word to it.
I said, "If she doesn't talk, maybe it's true, maybe it's not."
In these times, I really thought about suicide.
'Eventually, her mother admitted the truth,
'that her daughter was the product of a casual liaison with a married SS officer.
'But Gisela's doubts persisted.'
What did they want?
Did they want me as a child?
Or just did they want somebody
as an ideological person for the system?
'After Folker Heinecke had been kidnapped from the Ukraine
'and put into the Lebensborn programme,
'he was adopted by a wealthy shipping family from Hamburg.
'He had a privileged upbringing with his adoptive parents,
'until a chance encounter changed his world.'
'Like all parents who adopted a Lebensborn child,
'Folker's mother and father maintained their vow of silence.
'They brought him up as the heir to the family shipping business.'
'As the Lebensborn children grew up in the '50s and '60s,
'an optimistic Germany began to emerge from the rubble of war.'
GISELA: It was when rock'n'roll started.
I was a passionate rock'n'roll dancer.
I think that lots of my...yeah, "vulneration" and my angriness.
I could dance.
Perhaps this saved me for a while.
'While Gisela immersed herself in this new world,
'Guntram Weber, who knew that his father had been close to Himmler,
'continued to be dogged by questions about his past.'
How would I have acted in a society that was akin to one in the '30s and '40s in Germany.
What wouldIhave done?
I posed that question to myself again and again. What wouldIhave done?
In hindsight, you can tell yourself, "OK, I would have killed Hitler."
But would you have done it under those circumstances?
I wish I could tell myself
that I would have rebelled against the system.
I'm not sure I would have.
'As the years went by,
'the Lebensborn children uncovered more of their parents' secrets.
'Gisela discovered that her mother, Emmy, had been a keen operative,
'working between Poland and Munich.
'So crucial was her role, she had been called to testify at Nuremberg
'about the organisation's kidnapping of children.'
I read all her files.
Of course, she...she...
..spoke very, very clever, like they all did.
Of course, she went to Poland to get some orphan children from there.
They were all claimed as being orphans. You never know where they came from.
Children who were saved and brought into special homes
where they had to forget their original language,
they had to learn German,
and then Lebensborn organised the foster parents or adopted parents.
'It was only after his parents died
'that Folker felt able to explore his past.
'He discovered that he had been used as a case study of child abduction
'at the Nuremberg trials.'
I really confronted her with her own words from Nuremberg.
Then she "remembered" something. But still she said...
I said, "You must have asked yourself why you went to Poland
"and you got some children you had to bring to Germany.
"Where did they come from?"
"Well, they were orphans."
I said, "You can't imagine this. I know they were robbed."
"We don't know anything!
"I didn't know then and I don't know today.
"They were orphans."
And I said, "Well, you must have known that...
"You must have seen that those children you got from there
"were only blond and blue-eyed children."
Then she said, "Well,
"we didn't take everything."
That's what she really said.
And this was like, I... I broke...
I collapsed crying
because all of a sudden, in this sentence, I heard everything.
When she said, "Of course, we did not take everything."
The whole issue is a question of identity.
All of us, we don't have a real identity.
And we lost it the more we knew.
Everybody says they've always had the feeling
like the ground is shivering.
You never feel like you stand...
What we in psychology say, you need grounding
to be a person in this world.
We didn't get a grounding in the first years.
Then we found something is wrong. Then the historical context.
So it gets worse and worse.
'Guntram Weber's mother died before he could discover the truth about his past.
'Over time, the legacy of lies
'combined with the fractured sense of his father's role in Nazi Germany
'resulted in a near breakdown.'
I did not know...
..where to turn.
I did not have an idea of what to do.
I think, deep down, I was afraid of knowing.
Of knowing about the dark secrets,
which I assumed were there.
At the same time...
..I realised that I had to do something.
'Over the past six years,
'in a bid to shed more light on his Lebensborn past,
'Guntram has been trying to form a complete picture of the man he never met, but has shaped his life -
'his father, SS General Ludolf von Alvensleben.'
I want...
to find some way of...
taking control of my own situation.
Yeah. They refused that.
My mother refused it when she refused me information about my father,
about my early months.
And I want it. I want some control over my own life.
'Guntram's journey to Poland is his attempt to come face-to-face
'with the atrocities his father committed against the Polish people
'during and after the German invasion of 1939.
'At the museum in Bydgoszcz, Guntram discovers letters
'from soldiers describing their involvement in "ethnic cleansing".'
It's called document number 27.
It must be from 1939.
It's for Kreisleiter Kampe,
who was in charge of this area.
"We want to add...
"that the high...moral...power of resistance
"we have found among Polish people
"among other things, arises from the fact
"..when they are being...liquidated
"that when they are being liquidated
"they mostly show...
"a fearless, courageous...behaviour."
I can't. Can't stand this.
I don't know, there's no word about humans.
They're just being praised for their courage.
This is beyond my... my scale of comprehension.
This...this father of mine,
he ordered those things.
He ordered those executions.
'In the massacres of 1939,
'around 60,000 people, the elite of Polish society,
'were culled to pave the way for the Lebensborn generation.
'Lebensborn was about giving birth to a master race.
'Its mirror image, the death camps and genocide of the Jewish race
'and millions of others who would be exterminated.
GISELA: I think I will never get
something like understanding, or whatever.
It's just horror.
It's just horror, and the horror goes on.
In those nights, I don't sleep. I still have nightmares.
In my consciousness,
it's always I am the other part of those people who had to die.
It's no wonder you feel guilty
if you're a part of this other side.
And it doesn't help too much to know it's not your fault.
Many people say, "Why do you feel guilty?
"It was not you. It was your parents."
Still, they were my parents.
And I can only say that I think it's very important
that we don't go into the same habit like our parents,
into the silence and not talking about it.
'Gisela's mother continued to maintain her silence.
'She talked little about what she had done,
'refusing to confront her past.'
She was 89, almost 90.
She was sick. No specific. She was old and she didn't want to live any more.
"I want to die. Why can't I die?"
She had horror nightmares. She told me some of her nightmares.
I said, "Mama, there must be something you are carrying with you.
"Why don't you tell me?"
I really said it in my very soft manner.
I said, "I think there is something burdening your soul
"and perhaps you can deliver it if you..."
She said, "No. There is nothing."
'Guntram Weber's parents both died
'before he could learn the truth of his origins.
'So his journey to Poland is to confront
'not his father, but his father's crimes.
'Among those massacred on his father's orders
'Was school headmaster Zygmunt Polakowski.
'His 91-year-old daughter Jadwiga still lives in Bydgoszcz.'
Dziendobry, Pani Polakowska.
Dziendobry. Dziendobry.Dziendobry.
Do you speak a little bit English?
A little. Only a little.
Only a little.
I want to say something
on my own.
I am sorry.
Thank you. Thank you.
Enter, please.Thankyou.
This is my father.
I saw his photo.
Isawhisphoto. This is my father killed.
On order of your father.Iknow.
How old were you?
Very young. 20 years.
20 years.
And all my life happy.
Happy life.
It was crushed.Yeah.Yeah.
GISELA: Guilty.
This is really the one word is you feel guilty
if you know that you were taken into this horror scene
from the very beginning of your life.
It goes on. What is in my genes when my father was a Nazi criminal?
It's a whole human issue with shadows in everybody.
And which circumstances do allow people
to live more like their shadows?
'In recent years, Gisela has shared her experience as a creation of the Third Reich
'by giving talks to the German public in an attempt to confront them with the truth.'
I managed,
almost, not quite, but managed to transfer my feeling of guilt and shame
into the responsibility to talk about it,
and especially with young people.
'For Gisela's mother, it was only on her death bed
'that she betrayed any recognition that the truth needed to be told.'
I really spent the last nights with her in the hospital.
She died in my arms.
It was not easy.
In former times, I almost had a personal resistance.
I didn't want to be touched from her.
In the end, I could stroke her and, well...
She said one of the... And this I had also respect.
One of her last sentences in the night before she died...
She woke up. Before, I couldn't understand her, and then she said,
"It is good you brought the truth on the table.
"It's good we made the peace between us."
And these were her last sentences
so it was kind of, "Good. It's OK. Mama."
I at least was lucky to talk to my mother,
which many of other Lebensborn children could not.
I got at least some answers.
'Death Valley lies just beyond the outskirts of Bydgoszcz.
'It is a permanent memorial to those murdered on the orders
'of Guntram Weber's father, Ludolf von Alvensleben.
'Jadwiga Polakowska has asked to be taken there,
'to tell Guntram about the day she made a terrible discovery,
'six years after the Germans arrested her father.'
Ja. It went straight to my heart.
And...But it is true. It is true.
INTERPRETER:I didn't lie in my story.
I told you the way it was.Yeah.
It's not YOUR fault.
You have only trouble. And me, too.
Pojednanie, tylko pojednanie.
'Following the Third Reich's defeat,
'the Lebensborn experiment ended in failure, consigned to history,
'as the Nazis' perversion of science and medicine.
'These children's destiny was to be part of a master race
'that would rule for 1,000 years.
'But they did not grow up the blond-haired, blue-eyed puppets that Himmler had envisaged.'
GISELA: Our parents have been brainwashed enough.
After the war they could say, "We couldn't change it."
But for us, it was yeah, we didn't get a brainwashed gene somehow!
It was like we really got just the opposite.
We got the kind of...of guilt.
Of all the former Lebensborn kids I know, there is nobody
who says, "Well, wasn't it good? Look at me!
"I'm a very good-looking Aryan type! Wasn't it somehow also good?"
I don't know anybody.
'Folker Heinecke's Germanisation programme he was forced through
'failed to erase his pre-Lebensborn past.
'He has never given up his dream
'that his true blood relations are alive - somewhere.'
'Like Gisela and Folker, Guntram Weber has rejected
'all that Lebensborn stood for.
'He is now using his experiences in Poland
'to atone for the crimes of his father,
'establishing writing workshops to help enable the people of Bydgoszcz
'come to terms with the wounds inflicted by the Nazis.'
'Gisela Heindenreich has written of her experiences as a child of the Nazis
'and lectures worldwide on the evils of the regime.'