A group of Germans who as children were selected by the Nazis for their Aryan qualities as part of Adolf Hitler's quest to build a master race were gathering publicly Saturday for the first time to discuss the secretive program.
The so-called "Lebensborn children" were part of a lesser-known side of Nazi racial experiments. While millions of Jews and others deemed "undesirable" were being slaughtered, thousands of children were carefully selected for Aryan physical qualities and given to families of SS members to be raised.
Many are trying to make peace with pasts they long kept cloaked from shame. They are also asking questions, tracing their roots and demanding that the truth be told about SS chief Heinrich Himmler's Lebensborn, or "Source of Life," program.
The meeting of 60 members of a group formed last year called Lebensspuren, or Traces of Life, is being held in the eastern town of Wernigerode, where the Nazis ran the "Harz" Lebensborn home. Some two-thirds of the group's members are Lebensborn children, and it is the first time their meeting will be open to the public.