Geneva author Oscar Lalo publishes “The Race of the Orphans”, a chilling novel that looks back on a forgotten part of the Nazi project: the Lebensborn. He wonders about the curse of these children who were to be the glory of the regime and who have become its victims.
The Genevan Oscar Lalo, 55, has always written. Pleadings, songs, law lessons, scenarios and now novels because they are “a formidable sounding board” and that fiction, even better than documentary, allows the reader to “appropriate the history by the sole force of evocation “.
With “La Race des orphelins” (ed. Belfond), the author delves into one of the best kept secrets of the Second World War: the Lebensborn, these SS nurseries designed between 1935 and 1945 to make Aryan babies, destined to become the masters of the Third Reich.
After undergoing a “racial selection”, women, pregnant with an SS, gave birth to “perfect” children, blond, with blue eyes. At the end of three weeks, six at most, they had to abandon them to give them to the Führer.
Erase the traces of these children in battery
Oscar Lalo, “The Race of Orphans”. [Ed. Belfond]The novelist and former lawyer pleads the cause of these children without parents and without roots, raised like laboratory animals, and who do not even exist in the eyes of civil status. Indeed, the children from Lebensborn were not reported either to the town hall or to the church. Worse: the very day of Hitler’s suicide, all the archives concerning these nurseries were destroyed and the children abandoned to their sad fate, placed in institutions for the mentally handicapped, entrusted to nuns or offered to adoptive families who do not. They didn’t like them so much they recalled a past that everyone wanted to forget.
“When the Americans arrived, they thought they saw children a little weak. Deprived of affection, never solicited, most were illiterate”, explains the author, fascinated by early childhood, from 0 to 6 years old, this age which does not yet have access to memory, then in full construction, while it will shape the rest of their lives.
Aryans victims of the Reich
Oscar Lalo explains the genesis of his novel: “My first criminal case was a rape of a minor. I saw the inability for this child to say what he had experienced; he needed a megaphone. I believe that a novelist is a translator, he must give voice to those who do not have it. My first novel, “Les Contes Défaits”, was devoted to pedophilia, the second to these children, whose drama began after war, stigmatized as Nazis even though they were its victims “. Unstoppable defense argument:
We do not choose to be SS at 2 years old.
Spared by the Nuremberg trial
In “The Race of the Orphans”, a short novel with punchy and lyrical sentences, Oscar Lalo gives the floor to Hildegard Müller, a 76-year-old woman from a Lebensborn, who can barely read and write. To transmit her origins to her grandchildren, she calls on a scribe who will allow her to put words on her images.
“My name is Hildegard Müller. This is my diary. […]
I was to be the glory of mankind. I am the dregs “.
Himmler, responsible for this project which was to create an entirely pure and dominant Aryan race, will commit suicide. The other officials will not be worried, some even acquitted during the Nuremberg trial. No executioners, no victims! And this is how history weaves its secrets to spare itself the shame.
Interview by Manuela Salvi
Web adaptation: Marie-Claude Martin
Oscar Lalo, “La Race des orphelins”, Belfont editions.