'Behind the Smile: Orphaned by Hitler's Madness' to Be Featured in Book Fair
"Lebensborn" literally means "spring of life" in antiquated German. To historians, this name meant an unbelievable terror, a project founded by SS leader Heinrich Himmler designed to cultivate the Aryan race by supporting children that were considered racially pure. To PRK Brenner, Lebensborn came to mean a dark fragment of his past, he was one of the children taken into Hitler's breeding program. In his new book, "Behind the Smile: Orphaned by Hitler's Madness," Brenner remembers how a horrifying and little known episode of history started his journey to self-discovery and, ultimately, healing.
Brenner was born in Germany on the winter of 1944. His mother, an unwed 17-year-old Norwegian girl, unknowingly became part of the notorious Lebensborn Program. After the fall of the Third Reich, the young Brenner was adopted by an American Air Force Chaplain and his wife. Although he mostly forgot his childhood in Nazi Germany, he could not fully escape the life he had before his adoption.
While growing up, Brenner felt haunted by the mystery of his past. It was only when he finally decided to find out what happened that he was able to overcome it.
"It wasn't until I found the courage to face the unknown mysteries woven together by people, places and programs that healing could eventually take place. All the intertwining circumstances influenced my life, opened my eyes and helped me make peace with my inner spirit," he says.
With honesty and courage, Brenner guides readers on a journey from pain to healing, loss to redemption and from guilt to peace. Deeply moving and eye-opening, "Behind the Smile: Orphaned by Hitler's Madness" is all at once a window into a world unseen to most people and a powerful journey of identity and healing. Above all, it is a triumphant testament to the indomitable human spirit.