Launched in 1935, the Lebensborn initiative took on many different forms over the years. At first, it functioned mostly as a healthcare service, caring for the wives of Nazi officers through childbirth and beyond. However, the program also accepted unmarried mothers – as long as both parents met Nazi standards, of course.
In fact, around 60 percent of mothers in the program were not married, and the Lebensborn centers provided a welcome respite from the associated social stigma. Moreover, if the women didn’t want to raise a child themselves, a German adoptive family would be lined up.