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Wiener Library

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


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 531a

Held at: Wiener Library

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

Date(s): 1941-1948

Level of description: collection

Extent: c415 frames

Name of creator(s): International Tracing Service Child Search Branch


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.


Scope and content/abstract:

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


Language/scripts of material: German

System of arrangement:

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

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

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

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

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


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Jewish Central Information Office


Existence and location of originals:

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Oct 2007

Racism (doctrine) | Racial discrimination
Residential child care | Child welfare | Social welfare
Third Reich | Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines
Child care x Child welfare
Ethnic groups

Personal names

Corporate names
International Tracing Service