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May be very minimal identifying marks on the inside cover. Very minimal wear and tear. See all condition definitions - opens in a new window or tab Read more about the condition. In writing it, I have been driven to ask not just what he did, but why. What motivated him? Why did he believe these things as fanatically as he did? What was it about National Socialism that spoke to him so loudly and irresistibly? What kind of man regards Adolf Hitler as the answer to his political dreams? That is why this book is neither a conventional biography nor a case study.
In researching it, I was forced to reassess everything I thought I knew about the Nazi system and Bruno's place within it. I have extrapolated where I needed to, joining the gaps in his story as well as the dots, tracking his Nazi career over a quarter of a century, trying to understand what drove each key stage.
It helped that Bruno was neither a reticent nor an enigmatic figure. What views about the world he had he wore on his sleeve. Some of this was the bravado of an egotistical old man, but some of it represented the afterglow of the biggest adventure of his life — his years as a Nazi activist. He had spent decades convinced he was in possession of a great and transcendent truth, and the habit never entirely left him.
In a period when family history has burgeoned on television and in books and magazines, I realize that I belong to a generation who see themselves as custodians of their grandparents' lives. We are voluble and emotional about their experiences, where they were modest and reticent. In my case, of course, there is none of that. It wasn't the result of natural modesty, but of a powerful postwar embargo, motivated at first by the need to avoid exposure and arrest, then later as part of a much more widespread national reticence that chose to turn a blind eye to the past.
Some, at least, of Bruno's story is now out in the open, where it should be. Copyright c by Martin Davidson. Reprinted with permission by G. He walked to the world-renowned Al Azhar mosque here, where he converted to Islam, and to the ornate J. Groppi Cafe downtown, where he ordered the chocolate cakes he sent to friends and bought the bonbons he gave to their children, who called him Uncle Tarek.
Friends and acquaintances here in Egypt also remember him as an avid amateur photographer who almost always wore a camera around his neck, but never allowed himself to be photographed. It was behind the gray stone walls of Mauthausen, in his native Austria, that Dr. Heim committed the atrocities against hundreds of Jews and others that earned him the nickname Dr. Heim was accused of performing operations on prisoners without anesthesia; removing organs from healthy inmates, then leaving them to die on the operating table; injecting poison, including gasoline, into the hearts of others; and taking the skull of at least one victim as a souvenir.
After living below the radar of Nazi hunters for more than a decade after World War II — much of it in the German spa town of Baden-Baden where he had a wife, two sons and a medical practice as a gynecologist — he escaped capture just as investigators closed in on him in Investigators in Israel and Germany have repeatedly said that they believed Dr. Heim was alive and hiding in Latin America, near where a woman alleged to be his illegitimate daughter lived in Chile.
Witnesses from Finland to Vietnam and from Saudi Arabia to Argentina have sent tips and reported sightings to investigators. A dusty briefcase with rusted buckles, sitting nearly forgotten in storage here in Cairo, hid the truth behind Dr. Heim resided, the files in the briefcase tell the story of his life, and death, in Egypt.
The briefcase contains an archive of yellowed pages, some in envelopes that were still sealed, of Dr. Some documents are in the name Heim, others Farid, but many of the latter, like an application for Egyptian residency under the name Tarek Hussein Farid, have the same birthday, June 28, , and the same place of birth, Radkersburg, Austria, as Dr. Although none of the 10 friends and acquaintances in Cairo who identified a photograph of Dr. Heim knew his real identity, they described signs that he might have been on the run.
A certified copy of a death certificate obtained from Egyptian authorities confirmed witness accounts that the man called Tarek Hussein Farid died in Heim, 53, admitted publicly for the first time that he was with his father in Egypt at the time of his death from rectal cancer.
There was a television in the room, and he was watching the Olympics. It distracted him. Heim, who is tall, like his father, with a long mournful face and speaks softly and carefully. Aribert Heim died the day after the Games ended, on Aug. Despite the newly uncovered evidence of Dr. Until political winds shifted, ex-Nazis were welcomed in Egypt in the years after World War II, helping in particular with military technology.
Even so, how Dr. Heim was able to elude his pursuers for so long, while receiving money from Europe, most notably from his late sister, Herta Barth, and corresponding with friends and family in long letters, is unclear. Heim and traveled to Chile last July to raise awareness about the case. Zuroff expressed surprise when informed of Dr. The only time Dr.
But the military released him, apparently unaware that investigators in Austria were building a case against him. A United States war crimes team took testimony about his crimes from Josef Kohl, a former inmate at Mauthausen, on Jan. Kohl said, according to a transcript of the interview. Zuroff said that because Dr. German investigators said that Dr. Heim was careful throughout the postwar period when less-controlled people might have let down their guard.
Investigators noted that Dr. Heim, a talented ice hockey player, stayed out of pictures when his hockey team posed for its group portrait, even after they won the German championship. Heim owned an apartment building in Berlin, which investigators said for years provided him with income for his life incognito.
Investigators said that they had searched continuously since his disappearance in , checking more than leads and ruling out several people thought to be Dr. While they never caught him, they appear to have come tantalizingly close to his hiding place in the Middle East. According to his son, Dr.
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Heim had left Germany and driven through France and Spain before crossing into Morocco, and eventually settling in Egypt. Heim wrote in a letter to the German magazine Spiegel, after it published a report about his war-crimes case in It is unclear whether he ever sent the letter, which was found in his files, many of which were written in meticulous cursive style in German or English.
The Turkic ethnic group the Khazars were a recurring theme for Dr. Heim, who kept himself busy in Cairo, researching a paper he wrote in English and German, decrying the possibility of anti-Semitism owing to the fact, he said, that most Jews were not Semitic in ethnic origin. Rifai recalled that Dr. Heim had shown his family many different drafts of the paper, which were among the papers found in the briefcase that The Times and ZDF television obtained. A list also showed plans to send drafts of the paper to prominent people around the world — under the name Dr.
He formed close bonds with his neighbors, including the Doma family, which ran the Kasr el Madina hotel, where Dr. Heim lived the last decade before his death.
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Mahmoud Doma, whose father owned the establishment, said Dr. Heim spoke Arabic, English and French, in addition to German. Doma said his neighbor read and studied the Koran, including a copy in German that the Domas had ordered for him. Doma, 38, became emotional when talking about the man he knew as Uncle Tarek, whom he said gave him books and encouraged him to study.
He loved me and I loved him. He recalled how Uncle Tarek bought rackets and set up a tennis net on the hotel roof, where he and his siblings played with the German Muslim until sundown. But by , Dr. Doma, who wanted to put Uncle Tarek in the family crypt next to his father, opposed the plan. The two men rode in a white van with the body of Dr. Heim, which had been washed and wrapped in a white sheet in accordance with Muslim tradition and placed in a wooden coffin.
Doma said they bribed a hospital functionary to take the body, but Egyptian authorities found out, and Dr. Heim was instead interred in a common grave, anonymously. Four years ago, Mr. Weber discovered that his father was not, as his mother had told him, a young soldier who died honorably on the battlefield during World War II.
Instead, he was a high-ranking SS officer, who oversaw the deaths of tens of thousands of people while stationed in what is now western Poland. Weber said, his voice thick with anger and grief. As Mr. Weber, 63, told his story to a hushed room of mostly gray-haired men and women here, there were sympathetic nods, but little surprise. Most had their own tales of deceit and discovery, life histories that proved to be homespun fairy tales, the dark truth buried under layers of silence.
These are the children of the Lebensborn, an SS program devised to propagate Aryan traits. On this chilly weekend, they gathered here in a corner of central Germany to share their stories, and to speak publicly, for the first time, about the horror of finding out they had been bred to be the next generation of Nazi elite. Many of the mothers in the program were single, the fathers SS officers. Lebensborn, or spring of life, refers to a series of clinics scattered throughout Germany and neighboring countries, to which pregnant women, most of them single, went to give birth in secret.
They were cared for by doctors and nurses employed by the SS, the Nazi Party's feared paramilitary unit. One such clinic sits at the top of a gentle hill in Wernigerode, a remote town near the Harz Mountains. The building, long abandoned now, was part of a bittersweet homecoming tour for the 40 or so people who turned out for the meeting of an association known as Traces of Life. To be accepted into the Lebensborn, pregnant women had to have the right racial characteristics --blonde hair and blue eyes-- prove that they had no genetic disorders, and be able to prove the identity of the father, who had to meet similar criteria.
They had to swear fealty to Nazism, and were indoctrinated with Hitler's ideology while they were in residence. Many of the fathers were SS officers with their own families. Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, encouraged his men to sire children outside of marriage as a way of building a German master race.
About 6, to 8, people were born in these clinics in Germany between and Because of the program's secrecy, most were not told for decades the circumstances of their births or the identities of their fathers, which were not recorded on their birth certificates. Some still do not know the truth. Only in the last 20 years, as the wall of silence began crumbling, have researchers been able to document the Lebensborn program.
They have knocked down some prurient myths: that these clinics were Nazi bordellos, stocked with flaxen-haired breeders ready to mate with SS men. Some of the mothers gave them up for adoption to SS families. Others raised the children alone, telling them that their fathers had been killed in the war. Having given birth to illegitimate babies in a fervently Nazi setting, the mothers faced a double stigma in postwar Germany. Many lived out their lives in grim silence, their children say. Some developed psychological problems or turned to alcohol.
For the children, the discovery of the truth was equally traumatic. Weber, a creative writing teacher in Berlin, is still struggling to come to grips with his recently uncovered roots. Some hints from family members, followed by research, led him to the truth. Among his more unpleasant discoveries: his godfather was Himmler. Some feel shame. There are also a small number who are proud of being Lebensborn. They feel they are part of an elite. For Lebensborn children born outside Germany, life was even harsher.
In Nazi-occupied Norway, for example, the SS established a clinic because Himmler valued the appearance of Scandinavians. Those babies, born of Norwegian mothers and German soldiers, were branded as children of the enemy after the war, and faced pitiless discrimination. Other children who met Himmler's pernicious racial standards were kidnapped as infants from their families in Nazi-occupied countries and sent to Germany, where proper Nazi families raised them. If anything, the reunion served as proof that racial engineering has its limits. The Germans here looked no different from those at any other gathering of Germans in their golden years: the men with salt-and-pepper beards and balding pates, the women with eyeglasses and frosted hair.
Heidenreich, a tall woman with long blond hair and bright blue eyes. Heidenreich, the first of the Lebensborn children to write a book about her experience, argues that the program, sinister as it was, has echoes in today's world. With advances in genetics, she notes, discriminating parents will soon be able to select traits in their unborn children. Given that possibility, she said, the evils of the Nazi era must not be allowed to recede into the history books.
Heidenreich was born in a clinic in Oslo, although her parents were German. Her mother chose to give birth there to get as far away as possible from the village in Bavaria where she had grown up. Heidenreich was not told about her background but became suspicious after watching a television documentary about the Lebensborn children.
Today, she has trouble reconciling the kindly figure her mother became in later years with the committed Nazi she had been. Not everybody has had a fraught experience. Ruthild Gorgass, who was born here, said her mother told her about the circumstances of her birth when she was a teenager. Gorgass had some contact with her father, a manager for a chemical factory, who had another family. Her mother left her a photo album with an account of her stay in Wernigerode.
She had recalled it as an idyllic time, though she had expressed distaste for her daughter's naming ceremony, in which the baby was placed before an altar bearing a swastika. Gorgass, 64, a retired physical therapist. As she thumbed through the album, she put on a pair of reading glasses. Peering over them, she said with smile: "My eyes aren't perfect.
We've got all the same illnesses and disabilities as other people have. At the end of January , a large selection took place; old, sick, or weak women were taken to Uckermark and murdered, many by gassing. These selections continued into spring, leading to the deaths of at least women. They were the blue-eyed blonds born into a sinister SS scheme to further the Aryan race.
But the defeat of the Nazis left Norway's 'Lebensborn' facing the vengeance of an entire nation. Here, five former war children talk for the first time about their ordeal — and their fight for compensation. They stare blankly into the lens, their lips tellingly pursed. All are the Norwegian subjects of a terrifying Nazi experiment. All were involved in one of the most shocking trials of eugenics the world has ever known.
All are Lebensborn — the "spring of life". And all are here to tell their stories for the first time. He had designed a project to promote an "Aryan future" for the Third Reich and turn around a declining birth rate in Germany. People were given incentives to have more children in the Fatherland as well as in occupied countries, most importantly in Scandinavia, where the Nordic gene — and its blond-haired, blue-eyed progeny — was considered classically Aryan.
But after the conflict had ended, many of the Norwegians born into the programme suffered. In an attempt to distance itself from the occupying forces, the Norwegian government publicly vilified the children born by Norwegian mothers and Nazi fathers. Many of those children subsequently experienced intense bullying, and in some cases, extreme mental and physical abuse. In recent years, a Lebensborn group in Norway has been fighting what it sees as the Norwegian government's complicity in their horrific ordeal.
Now, these once-persecuted children, many of whom are in their sixties, have been brought together by British photographer Lucinda Marland, who travelled to Norway to interview them and take their portraits, with a s 5x4 plate camera, reproduced exclusively here. The Lebensborn programme arrived in Norway in March , six years after the scheme was started in Germany. The occupying soldiers were officially encouraged to father children with the local women. They were reassured that the Third Reich would take care of the child if they did not wish to marry the mother, or were already married.
As well as paying all the costs for the birth, the Lebensborn association gave the mothers substantial child support, including money for clothes, as well as a pram or cot. It was noted at the time that only a small proportion of the German fathers wanted to marry the pregnant women and bring them back to the German Reich. Hotels and villas were requisitioned and 10 Lebensborn homes were established from scratch.
Here, more than 8, children were registered, and issued with a Lebensborn number and file containing their medical records. For many of the young, impressionable Norwegian girls who had become pregnant at the hands of the invaders, it was a convenient place to give birth — well away from the disapproving eyes of their peers, with access to the best available care.
But towards the end of the war, the exiled Norwegian government — which had set up shop in London — started broadcasting ominous warnings to collaborators in Norway. One said: "We have previously issued a warning and we repeat it here of the price these women will pay for the rest of their lives: they will be held in contempt by all Norwegians for their lack of restraint. Soon afterwards, the war ended, Himmler committed suicide and Norway's pre-war leaders returned. Norwegians cut off the hair of many of the "German whores" who had sired children with the Nazi soldiers, and they were paraded through the streets and spat at.
Though the women hadn't broken any law, several thousand were arrested and many interned. A large number lost their jobs, for as little as having been seen talking to a German, and many were traumatised for life. The condemnation escalated. The Norwegian government tried to deport the Lebensborn to Germany but the scheme was vetoed by the Allies. In July , one newspaper expressed the fear that Lebensborn boys would "bear the germ of some of those typical masculine German characteristics of which the world has now seen more than enough".
A leading psychiatrist advised that a large proportion of the 8, officially registered children must be carrying bad genes and therefore would be mentally retarded; "genetically bad", he said, they "belonged in special institutions". As a result, hundreds of children were forcibly incarcerated in mental institutions. Here they were often abused, raped and their skin scrubbed until it bled. A member of the Norwegian ministry of social affairs said of them in July "To believe these children will become decent citizens is to believe rats in the cellar will become house pets.
Through legal action, many of the children have sought compensation from the Norwegian government for its discrimination against them. A few were offered limited financial recompense. But still officials refuse to take the blame.
Last year, of the children appealed to the European Court of Human Rights but lost on the grounds that their problems happened too long ago. I thought Norway was a great country, the best country for human rights; I didn't disbelieve that for one moment until I took this case. Now, what hope that still exists among the Lebensborn is in their desire that by sharing their stories, one day an international standard will be set that will prevent future war children from being discriminated against, and enduring the atrocities that they themselves have had to live through.
Their chilling tales, some of which are reproduced here, are just one small step towards that potential resolution.
I was born in in a Lebensborn home, where I stayed until I was adopted aged two. My adoptive parents were incredibly cruel: they beat me and locked me in a small, dark room for hours. To this day I'm still afraid of the dark and have nightmares. We lived in a small community where everyone seemed to know I was a German child and told me how awful I was. I was very disruptive; I couldn't concentrate. When I was 16 the local priest refused to confirm me because I did not have a baptism certificate. I had to go to the local authority where I found out that my parents had changed my name.
Then I went to Denmark to study. While there I worked as a nursery nurse, and fell in love with a German, but my parents disapproved and I had to return to Norway to continue studying. A year after I returned, a friend and I were walking to the cinema when a car pulled up with some boys in it. My friend said she knew them so we got in, but the car broke down. My friend went off with one of the boys to get spare parts and left me alone with the other boy, who raped and almost killed me. A taxi driver saved my life. I later discovered I was pregnant from the attack.
I was 19 years old. My parents threw me out of the house and put me in a home, where I stayed until my son was born. My parents then insisted I give up my baby; I was only allowed to hold him for a few minutes before they took him away. But I was determined that history would not repeat itself and with the help of a social worker I got my son back.
Despite all the hardships, I got an education and my work as a social worker has helped me deal with my past. I've dedicated my adult life to helping others, children in particular. It helps me to forget my own tormented past. I now live with my husband and dogs in Oslo. I think my mother's family put pressure on her to give me up, so I was born in a Lebensborn home in and my mother left me there.
I later learnt that after the war a government delegation came to the home to decide what to do with the 20 war children, including me, who had been left there. We were lined up and the doctor said he would take us. It turned out that he was the head of a mental institution.
There was no medical prognosis behind his decision; it was just that we were war children, and therefore must be "retarded" due to our parentage. They made no effort to trace any of our family members, they just locked us up with children so sick that some were incontinent and incapable of feeding themselves. I was four years old. By the time I was released I had lost any chance of a proper education and for the next few years I went from one home to another.
I was eventually sent to a special school for children with learning disabilities and mental illness. This was the only formal education I received. War children were segregated from the rest of the school. We were not allowed any contact with the outside community. I was then moved to a boys' home and then another mental institution, where I was finally old enough to sign myself out.
The people there helped me get a job in a factory. My colleagues used to taunt me mercilessly until one day I stood up and told them what had happened to me. They never taunted me again and I stayed there for 17 years. In I got married but my wife had a nervous breakdown and we divorced in Then I lived with someone for nearly 20 years but she died of cancer. I now work as a cleaner and janitor at the University of Oslo and have a long-term girlfriend. As much as it hurts to talk about my past, I do so because it's important that people know what happened to us.
I spent the first 20 years of my life in mental institutions just because my father was a German. I was born in near Trondheim. My mother was away a lot, finding work. It was my grandparents who brought me up and told me about my father. They provided for me, but never showed me any warmth. I felt like I lived behind a wall of silence; life was very empty and confusing. At 10 years old I was raped by a local man, who had a deep hatred of the Germans. I didn't know him but he knew I was a German child.
He told me people like me were born to be used. I didn't dare tell anyone; I stayed in bed for a week pretending I had a stomach upset. At 15 I was granted special permission to marry my husband. It took me a couple of years to tell him about my history but he has always been a huge support and we've been married for 47 years. Both he and my children encouraged me to trace my father, who I met for the first time when I was We have a wonderful relationship and, when my daughter got married, she asked if my father could walk her down the aisle to show the world that the spell was broken.
It's taken me a long time to be able to say, it's OK, I'm a German child. It's important to speak out to help other war children who aren't as fortunate as me. Growing up in Oslo, I was told my father was sent to the Eastern Front, where he died in action. But my mother would never tell me anything more about him. I later learnt that when my mother discovered she was pregnant she tried to get an abortion, but the German authorities wouldn't let her.
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I endured school until I was 15; I was always being beaten and couldn't understand why. I then went to sea, working mainly on cargo ships. On shore leave, I'd often find myself on the shadier side of town — I found it easier to be around people with something to hide. I've been married twice and have five children. Both marriages ended in divorce; I wasn't easy to live with. When I turned 57 I took early retirement because I couldn't concentrate and was having nightmares, and it was then that I confronted my past.
I started seeing a psychologist and learnt to explore who I was. I decided to go to Germany. I knew where my father had lived, so I went to the local newspaper, which helped me with my research. I found my father's grave and discovered he had actually died in in a car crash, not in the war as I had been led to believe. It was a devastating blow. But my trip to Germany wasn't all bad; I met my two half-sisters, who had no idea I existed, and this summer my nephew and his children are coming to visit me.
My mother and father planned to marry, but to marry an SS officer you had to prove three generations of Aryan blood. My mother's Lapp heritage meant she was not pure enough. I was born in My father returned to Germany while my mother fell into poverty, not qualifying for any support from the state, my father or even the Lebensborn programme. We lived a relatively untroubled life in Lapland until I went to school. One day a fellow pupil called me a "German whore"; I didn't know what this meant so I ran home and asked my mother. She told me that not everyone is open-minded.
My mother then married a former resistance fighter, who hated anything German, particularly me. Abuse and beatings soon became a regular part of my home life. At 13, I ran away. Somehow I survived, putting myself through school. I remember being lonely, hungry and cold. The authorities knew about me but did nothing to help. Before returning to Norway I spent several years in Mexico, where I fostered two street children. I brought them home with me, but soon realised that Norway hadn't progressed in its attitude towards ethnic minorities.
So I founded the organisation Seif. When I was 18, I left Norway and didn't return for 18 years. I worked as an au pair in England, and worked and studied in Germany. I managed to trace my father, who initially denied all knowledge of me. But when we met it was physically obvious I was his daughter. I was furious at him — even more so when he spoke ill of my mother. I successfully took him to court for the maintenance he had never paid to me. Germany is to offer citizenship to tens of thousands of 'war children' fathered by Nazi soldiers in France during the Second World War.
The move is being offered in recognition of the suffering of those who became known as the "bastards of the Boche" and often suffered discrimination. The German interior ministry said the move was a "symbolic gesture to make up for past wrongs" suffered by the children who are now in their 60s. A spokesman said: "The German government is aware of the difficult fate of the French 'war children' accommodate those who want to apply for German citizenship.
We will act generously with applications. For example, we will not levy fees. The German foreign ministry has worked "intensively" with its French counterpart on the subject, he added. Nevertheless, each of the offspring would have to apply for German citizenship individually, he said. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has previously called for "recognition" of the suffering of the children who were stigmatised and suffered years of abuse.
According to research, , were born between and — most as a result of affairs between lonely, bored young women and troops billeted nearby. Nazi rules prohibited marriage with French natives — unlike with Norwegians or Dutch who were deemed to be "Aryan" — so the liaisons were secret and often ended abruptly when they were discovered. After the war, the mothers went through purgatory as France was swept with a tide of anti-German hostility and collaboration amnesia set in. Many were paraded through the streets with heads shaved, and some sent to jail for offences against "national dignity".
He believed Lebensborn children would grow up to lead a Nazi-Aryan nation. Blond hair and blue eyes were preferred, and family lineage had to be traced back at least three generations. Of all the women who applied, only 40 percent passed the racial purity test and were granted admission to the Lebensborn program.
The majority of mothers were unmarried, In the beginning, the Lebensborn were taken to SS nurseries. The children born in the Lebensborn nurseries were then taken by the SS. Lebensborn provided support for expectant mothers, we or unwed, by providing a home and the means to have their children in safety and comfort.
Himmler himself took a special interest in the homes, choosing not only the mothers, but also attending to the decor and even paying special attention to children born on his birthday, October 7th. By , the program had not produced the results Himmler had hoped. He issued a direct order to all SS and police to father as many children as possible to compensate for war casualties.
The order created controversy. Many Germans felt the acceptance of unwed mothers encouraged immorality. Eventually Himmler backpedaled, but he never condemned illegitimacy outright. Himmler himself had two illegitimate children. Lebensborn soon expanded to welcome non-German mothers. Racially fit women, most often the girlfriends or one-night stands of SS officers, were invited to Lebensborn homes to have their child in privacy and safety.
In these centers, everything was done to force the children to reject and forget their birth parents. As an example, the SS nurses tried to persuade the children that they were deliberately abandoned by their parents. The others were adopted by SS families. During this operation, some SS made a selection of the children.
The others were sent to special children camps i. As the allies advanced, children in the various Lebensborn homes were withdrawn to interior homes.
Female SS guards employed in concentration camps
They found children, aged six months to six years. Most of the mothers and staff had feld. The majority of these children were either put up for adoption or sent back to their birth families. Some of the children kidnapped in other countries who were living with families throughout Germany were repatriated to their native countries. Unfortunately, many were too Germanic to fit in. It is nearly impossible to know how many children were kidnapped in the eastern occupied countries. In , it was estimated that more than , were kidnapped and sent by force to Germany.
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