International Tracing Service Child Search Branch: papers relating to 'Lebensborn' (microfilm)

Scope and Content

Reports affidavits and correpondence regarding the fate of children brought up in the Nazi Lebensborn programme, 1941-1948.

Administrative / Biographical History

The origins of the International Tracing Service date back to a 1943 initiative at the Headquarters of the Allied Forces, which enabled the section for International Affairs at the British Red Cross in London to provide this function. Spurred by the need to acquire more precise information about the fate of forced labourers and refugees in Europe, the task was taken over by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces on 15 February 1944. From the end of the war until 30 June 1947 the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration assumed the task of supporting and repatriating millions of non-German refugees. It moved to Bad Arolsen, Germany in January 1946, which was the geographical centre of the 4 occupation zones. On 1 July 1947 the International Refugee Organisation took over the Central Tracing Bureau, which, as of 1 January 1948, under the name International Tracing Service, is still valid today.

Lebensborn (Fount of life), registered association, established in December 1935 within the SS Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt (Race and Resettlement Main Office- RuSHA). In an extension of the marriage order of 1932, the Lebensborn Statute of September 1936 charged every SS man to produce at least 4 children, whether in or out of wedlock. The children were to come into the world in well-equipped Lebensborn homes, which protected the mothers from the surrounding world. Lebensborn provided birth documents and the child's basic support, and recruited adoptive parents. Financed by compulsory contributions from the RuSHA leadership, by 1944 a total of 13 homes were maintained, in which some 11,000 children were born. Estimates for the number of kidnappings of racially suitable non-aryans vary from several thousand to 200,000.


The original deposit consisted of two files which were subsequently filmed in no discernible order.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Jewish Central Information Office

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Location of Originals

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.