Children of Nazis – The Sons and Daughters of Himmler, Göring, Höss, Mengele, and Others – Living with a Father’s Monstrous Legacy

By Bundesarchiv - CC BY-SA 3.0 de

By Tania Crasnianski

Children of Nazis is the fascinating story of eight children of Third Reich leaders and their journey from descendants of heroes to descendants of criminals

Children of Nazis is the unprecedented examination of the relationships between elite Nazi officers and their children that analyzes how each descendant copes with the legacy and weight of their parents’ actions during the Holocaust. With stories of both condemnation and worship, Children of Nazis offers fascinating new insights into these descendants’ lives and examines the question of whether or not these children should bear responsibility for their fathers’ war crimes.

In 1940, the German sons and daughters of great Nazi dignitaries Himmler, Göring, Hess, Frank, Bormann, Speer, and Mengele were children of privilege at four, five, or ten years old, surrounded by affectionate, all-powerful parents. Although innocent and unaware of what was happening at the time, they eventually discovered the extent of their father’s occupations: These men – their fathers who were capable of loving their children and receiving love in return – were leaders of the Third Reich, and would later be convicted as monstrous war criminals. For these children, the German defeat was an earth-shattering source of family rupture, the end of opulence, and the jarring discovery of Hitler’s atrocities.

How did the offspring of these leaders deal with the aftermath of the war and the skeletons that would haunt them forever? Some chose to disown their past. Others did not. Some condemned their fathers; others worshiped them unconditionally to the end. In this enlightening book, Tania Crasnianski examines the responsibility of eight descendants of Nazi notables, caught somewhere between stigmatization, worship, and amnesia. By tracing the unique experiences of these children, she probes at the relationship between them and their fathers and examines the idea of how responsibility for the fault is continually borne by the descendants.

Heinrich Himmler with daughter Gudrun and wife Margarete. By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

“The author brings to light the fate of children who, after the fall of Nazism, found themselves facing the monstrous reality of their parents, as they considered them until then like heroes. . . . A documentation of family, memory and history.”

—Le Point (France) 

Cover book

About the Author:

Tania Crasnianski was born in France of a German mother and French-Russian father. Children of Nazis is her first book. She is a criminal lawyer and lives in Germany, London, and New York.

Children of Nazis

The Sons and Daughters of Himmler, Göring, Höss, Mengele, and Others – Living with a Father’s Monstrous Legacy

By Tania Crasnianski

Translated by Molly Grogan

Arcade Publishing hardcover

On Sale: February 6, 2018

ISBN: 9781628728057