Lebensborn Celebrities

Lebensborn Celebrities

Two Scandinavian celebrities are Lebensborn children. Abba star Anni-Lrid Lyngstad is the child of a Norwegian mother and German sergeant. She was shunned and persecuted during her childhood and found her father three decades later, saying, “I can’t really connect to him and love him the way I would have if he’d been around when I was growing up.” Her mother died before she was two and her grandmother immigrated to Sweden to raise her.
Marta Kristen was born to a Finnish mother and German soldier who was killed towards the end of WW II. A couple from the U.S. adopted her and changed her name from Bridget to Marta. She has a long list of movie appearances like Wagon Train and Lost in Space. Off screen, she tried to find her roots. In l969 she was found her real mother in Finland and has met her older sister. She continues to look for other family members, a brother in Austria and a sister in Finland.
While researching history in Germany for Lebensborn, I met a man in a suburb north of Frankfurt . He is the child of a Polish man brought like many others from Poland to work the agriculture fields in that area during WWII.
He said, “When the war was over and the German soldiers were coming home, the parish priest told mothers of the thousand babies born of the Poles to kill us. My mother put me in the kitchen stove but my grandmother pulled me out. There were only two of us children at school and we were shunned and bullied. It was a terrible childhood.”

Questions

Why did the black SS uniforms disappear?
What was the Lebensborn program? Why couldn’t an SS officer receive a promotion if they had no children?
WWII collectibles. Are they still popular?
Why was the Nazi public relations programs the most successful the world has ever witnessed?
Most Americans have little knowledge of the European geography and history of WWII. What limited history of WWII they do have comes from what source?

Following Leads

It was the first sunny day in a series of dreary weeks so I caught a ride with Bud to Chelan in his Comanche airplane to consult with a client. 

They dropped me off at the small, sunny Chelan library of many windows (this pristine lake city has 3,500 residents). I snatched up their current Writer’s Market and jotted down publications with interest in collectibles for possible article submissions.
 I put on my marketing hat to find a way to let people learn of the Lebensborn program and novel.

The second edition of my story cookbook is almost sold out. The sales ladies at Big R, a rural western ranch supply house, learned that I’m considering a third edition and are eager for the third to arrive.
The store manager asked me to show the cookbook to one of their store buyers who liked it enough to give me a vendor number. Jerrod, the store manager, told him, “People come in asking for it.” Of course, it has a spotlighted position near the checkout counters. The books are on display in a rustic wooden holder Bud crafted in his cluttered barn.

Follow Lebensborn through Production

Momentum Lost & Gained Again

 

   The driving power, push and energy taking Lebensborn to the next step is stolen by our ten-day trip to Chicago.  An interview for a military collectibles article was put on hold.  Weeks later the necessary information and the writing of the article is again side-tracked by the arrival of spring and outdoor projects.

    A delay has been announced by the publisher.  “Please understand,” says Georgie, “Currently we have been forced to place a hold on new productions for two to three weeks. Please be assured that this is a temporary situation and one that we do implement from time to time so there is nothing to be concerned about.  Your manuscript will go into text block production in two to three weeks at which time I will contact you with the print Manager who will be handling the layout of your book.  If you feel that three weeks has passed and you have not heard from me, please do not hesitate to e-mail me.”

    Georgie finally sends details.

    Ellen Green, press department, and Kira Robbins, art department, send e-mails: “We want to get started on your cover and marketing materials.  Please fill in the attached form.  It is our pleasure to work with you on cover design, including back cover text, and to promote your book when it is ready.”

    E-mailing their form was a nightmare.  Kim wrote, “Looks like everything after the genre question is coming through blank.”  “Okay Kim,” I write back, “What last bit did the computer swallow?”

    They both forward another form, a word attachment.  I breathed a sigh of relief when a fully-completed document went through.  “Got it,” says Kim.  “Thanks for your patience and diligence.” 

     The genres I’ve chosen to list Lebensborn are: fiction/historical, fiction/war & military, and drama/European and Continental.  Another suggested third: fiction/action & adventure if the drama idea isn’t appropriate.

     The large and small synopses of the book were written, along with a lengthy listing of the main characters, fifty or so.

     The writing questions:  motivation for the book, themes of messages, setting.  The questions that concerned writing were fun.  They wanted to know why and when I write, my day job. When did I realize I wanted to be a writer?  They asked about my writing schedule, obstacles to writing, influence of life experience, writer’s block, and inspiration. 

    Where did I grow up?  “In Iowa,” I said, “where the tall corn really does grow and where some natives do get restless and move west.”  To answer where I live now, I said, “I make my home at the base of a mountain in Eastern Washington State five miles from Trail, British Columbia, where my husband and I have created a rustic bed and breakfast called the Lazy Bee.”

     I’ll hear more from the art and press departments.  The really big step is the print-block phase.  No one ever said writing would be an easy career.  Every job has challenges!

My main obstacle: “Living the mountain lifestyle, while at the same time keeping the ranch supplied, cleaned, planted and landscape in pristine condition for possible B&B guests.  I think I’ll find a little cabin by a river and do like Marjorie Kinnen Rallings.  She found a cook/housekeeper and sat on the porch and wrote.

Once the novel is accepted for publication, it progresses through several departments of the publisher. The first department edits the manuscript.

Due to the December holidays and a skeleton staff, I learned that this would not take place until the end of January. That month came and went with no edit in sight. I’d queried the edit department a few times through client/care but no response. So, I did what any anxious writer might do, I contacted Tania in administration and five minutes after I heard back from her, “I’ll see what’s happening,” I received the manuscript for review. Along with the edited manuscript there was copy edit instructions and samples from the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, as edit authorities.

Long ago I used proofreader’s marks as a medical book editor and at seven newspapers. I wonder if there are new marks. Work to do. I was very excited. How will my editor like the manuscript? Writers are so sensitive to how others view their work. I took one peak at the second book edits. I think I’m going to enjoy this.

In the edit I noticed, she had changed “the girl crept,” to “the girl stepped.” However, to convey the true meaning, I knew I would soon change that to “the girl moved stealthily.” To me, even such a little change means the ms. will be enhanced.

In her edit of the first book, she said in one of her comments, “Underlining is usually a distraction in the regular exposition of a novel. When special examples seem necessary, it will be rendered with italics throughout. Indeed, the clarity and quality of your prose makes this kind of emphasis largely unnecessary.”

Even though the manuscript had been professional edited before, her subtle word suggestions are excellent: sadness and pain ‘shown’ to ‘shone’, stood behind the desk ‘poised like a’ is now ‘stood ‘poised’ behind the desk like, ‘insure’ corrected to ‘ensure’ and ‘to look at his eyes’ better than ‘looking at his eyes.’

Best of all were her suggestions for a love scene. She thought it should be taken to completion so as not to disappoint a reader (it’s the beach scene in the first book if you’re interested). and fleshing out of a magician SS officer’s work during the scene at Himmler’s castle for his officers. Her idea made the chapter sizzle when I wrote a new a paragraph. It’s good. You’ll see. It’s in the first book toward the end.