Why weren't many Nazis sterilized?

The descendants of the Nazi criminals : Children of the wicked

“This cursed gate,” says Rainer Höß. He's never been there, but he has the pictures in his head, black and white pictures of a family idyll. Laughing, splashing children in the garden, happy faces of adults. An inconspicuous gate separated this innocent-looking scene from the outside world. The pictures could have been taken anywhere, but this is not everywhere, this is Auschwitz. Commandant Rudolf Höß had his private residence right next to the main camp Auschwitz I. And one of the laughing children is Rainer Höß 'father, who was "just as cocky as my grandfather". Rainer Höß remembers that his father never talked about the Nazi era. Together with the Israeli filmmaker Chanoch Zèevi, the commandant's grandson is traveling to the Auschwitz Memorial for the first time.

What does it mean to descend from mass murderers? Five descendants of Nazi greats are the focus of the documentary "My family, the Nazis and me". Höß's trip, which culminates in an encounter with young people and Holocaust survivors from Israel, forms the dramaturgical bracket in this German-Israeli coproduction. In between, Katrin Himmler, Bettina Göring, Niklas Frank and Monika Göth also describe how they deal with the family heritage. Zeevi does not take sides: the careers of the perpetrators are described in short profiles, otherwise the film gets along without commentary from the off and without the relevant archive images from the Nazi era - despite the special names from the horror cabinet of German history, a fairly confident handling the topic.

Most of the children of the Nazi perpetrators, says Katrin Himmler, either broke with their parents or opted for loyalty while ignoring anything negative. “The in-between is incredibly difficult.” The SS Führer’s great niece studied the history of her family thoroughly and published the book “The Himmler Brothers” about it. Bettina, the great niece of the Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring, has been living in the USA for a long time. She walks with her dog and cowboy hat through the prairie, where she and her husband live in a lonely, neat solar-powered house. Germany and the burden of her family name seem a long way off, but then she says that she and her brother had themselves "more or less consciously" sterilized "in order not to produce any more Görings".

Katrin Himmler considers the idea that she could have inherited “bad genes” to be absurd. Then she would confirm the Nazis "with their foolish conviction that everything only depends on the blood." Himmler married an Israeli who was a descendant of Holocaust victims. They would both come from enlightened, liberal families, she says: “What's the problem?” But in conflicts “our whole family history” would have played a role. Another generation closer to the Nazi era are Niklas Frank, the son of Hans Frank, born in 1939, the governor of the General Government, and Monika Göth, the daughter of Amon Göth, born in 1945, the commandant of the Plaszow concentration camp near Krakow. Her mother hit her "like a madwoman" when she wanted to know more precisely how many Jews her father had killed, says Monika Göth. She allegedly only found out the truth about his lust for murder in the cinema when she saw Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List".

Niklas Frank made the most radical departure from his perpetrator father and was also publicly known in his books "Der Vater - Eine Abrechnung" and "Meine Deutsche Mutter". In the film he can usually be seen at readings in schools. He says it takes some effort to "execute my parents in front of young people every evening, but they deserve it," he says.

"My family, the Nazis and I"; ARD, 11:45 p.m.

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