Lebensborn: Hitler’s Forgotten Children

It was 71 years ago, on April 30, 1945, that Hitler reportedly committed suicide in his bunker and on May 23, 1945, that one of his equally infamous henchmen, Heinrich Himmler presumably followed suit while in British custody.  History has borne witness to the heinous crimes of Hitler and Himmler in the name of Aryan eugenics through the Nuremberg trials, but the focus of these crimes has been on the incarceration and extermination of Jews and other “undesirables” who elicited the furor of the Führer.  Much lesser known is the Nazi purification program involving a set of eugenically cherry-picked children groomed in a network of maternity and children homes known as Lebensborn (which literally means fount or source of life), and the impact this had on these individuals.


Lebensborn has flown under the radar because its surviving proponents under Himmler were apparently exonerated during the Nurmberg trials as running a children’s welfare society, rather than conspiring in a massive program to breed and kidnap children into a master race.  Himmler, who majored in agronomy in college, is reported to have been an unsuccessful chicken farmer choosing instead to channel his inner chicken-sh*t into human experimentation and exploitation with Lebensborn as a centerpiece of his legacy.

Tim Tate is a British author and investigative filmmaker who has made a documentary about Lebensborn, and most recently collaborated on a book with one of Lebensborn’s survivors – Ingrid Von Oelhafen, who was extracted from her Yugoslavian roots and her birth identity as Erika Matko.

Lebensborn Book

The woman born as Erika Matko was sent to Germany, and placed into Lebensborn where she was ultimately claimed as a foster child by the Von Oelhafen family.  In her stead, the Nazis substituted another child to assume the identify of Erika Matko in Yugoslavia – a real life doppelgänger to take the place of the sanctioned kidnapping of the child also known as Erika Matko.  The story of Ingrid-Erika’s secret life is summarized in her poignant interview on radio_gorgeous, and told in gripping detail in her newly released book co-authored with Tim Tate.   Its concluding chapter begins at follows:

“What is identity?  How is it formed?  And does identity shape the person – or is it the other way around?”


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According to Wiki, a mandala – which literally means circle in Sanskrit – is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions representing the universe.  In common use however, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that symbolically represents the universe.  Our granddaughter Kayla never ceases to amaze us with her artistic (among other) talents, the latest of which is her first place entry into a mandala drawing contest.

Here is one of several favorites she drew:

Mandala 1

And here is her first place winning entry:

Mandala Winnder


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When Baseball is Truly a Team Sport

Baseball is obviously a team sport, as opposed to tennis or wrestling or any of the contests in which the competition is solely between two combatants.  Yet the principal drama is between the hurler and the hitter on every pitch, until the ball is in play.  And then the principal action typically revolves around one fielder once the ball leaves the bat.  An unusual triple play occurred over the weekend in the Rangers-White Sox game which showed a team aspect of the game on defense that underscores why clubs go through so many drills  to simulate these actions during spring training.

Here’s the beauty of the sequence.  The Rangers load the bases with no one out, and on an 0-1 count a ball is lined toward the right field corner setting the runners in motion.  But the ball is caught on a nice play, so the runner at first scrambles to get back and the RFer fires it a bit off line to first base giving the runner ample time to return.  Were there a speedier runner on 3B he would have tagged to go home, but it’s the lumbering Prince Fielder.  Knowing this, the first baseman lunges after the runner who has overrun the first base bag into foul territory in his zeal to get back to the bag.

Look at the communication on the play, as the second baseman notices that Fielder has frozen a little off 3B, but the there’s a logjam there as the Rangers’ player on 2B took off for 3rd thinking Prince had ample time to lumber down the line.  So the second baseman motions to the first baseman to throw home.  Then watch the beautiful communication by the pitcher who has run home to back up the play — he immediately points to 2B, seeing that the runner is trying to scamper back from third toward second so he doesn’t get tripled off the base.  The shortstop takes the throw and chases the runner back toward third, and the lumbering Prince now has no choice but to head home.  As he does, the shortstop tosses the ball to the catcher, who throws to the third baseman to apply the tag to Prince.

The quintessential team play involving exquisite nonverbal communication.


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Random Acts of Kindness

I received the following message this morning, and was moved by this phrase:

“In lieu of flowers, the family requests those touched by Dr. Alexander’s life to extend their hand in random acts of kindness.”

What a wonderful gesture.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if this were done routinely as a tribute to the kind souls who have graced us?


LAlexanderIn Loving Memory of
Larry Alexander, OD, FAAO

The Academy is deeply saddened to report the passing of Academy Fellow Dr. Larry Alexander of Venice, Florida on April 16, 2016 at the age of 68.

Dr. Alexander became a Fellow of the Academy in 1975 and served as Clinical Editor for Optometry and Vision Science for five years, in addition to making frequent contributions to the journal.

Originally from Plainfield, Indiana, Dr. Alexander graduated from Indiana University School of Optometry and served as an optometrist in the US Navy. He practiced in Elizabeth City, NC, Louisville, KY, and Jeffersonville, IN. Dr. Alexander also taught at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry and most recently consulted for Optovue. He was an educational author of the textbook titled Primary Care of the Posterior Segment, and was a lecturer who was passionate about his work.

There will be a private military service on the beach at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests those touched by Dr. Alexander’s life to extend their hand in random acts of kindness. Several scholarship funds are established in his name for education.


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Phillies Return to Earth

After getting off to a surprisingly good start for the first 10 games, the Phillies reminded their fans why they will battle the Atlanta Braves this year for the basement in the NL East.  Their offense has disappeared, and their pitching along with it.  Citizens Bank Park was a ghost town tonight, populated mostly by fans from Queens chanting “Let’s Go Mets”.  

Phils - Empty vs. Mets 2

Sitting in the comfort of my living room, the only excitement came when Maikel Franco crushed a ball to dead center field in the bottom of the 8th with two runners on, only to have Juan Lagares pull the ball back into the ballpark.

Phils - Lagares Snags Franco

I would say “It’s Going To Be A Long Year”, but it already has been one …

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More Sights from Downtown St. Louis

STL carriage

STL Glass Panes

Arch Sign

STL Arch Clouds

STL Ballpark Village

STL Outside

STL Inside

STL Monsters

STL hat

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The Return of Consuela

If you need to ask, you don’t need to know.

BT King

BT Consuela

BT Consulea 2

BT Consuela 3

BT Consuela 4

BT Consuela 5

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