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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ukrainians as Aryans: Marsha Skrypuch's novel Stolen Child about bizarre Nazi eugenics

Talk about twisted.

In the 1930s the Nazis devised a scheme to create a master race that is purely Aryan. Because to their warped minds Aryans were supposedly superior to all other human beings and thereby entitled to rule the world.

Only one problem with that plan. Not enough blond blue-eyed Aryan "pure bloods" in Germany to grow their gene pool.

Slavs, although considered untermenschen (sub-human) by the Nazis, were nonetheless one rung up from the Jews on the Nazis' hierarchy of humans. While the Nazis aimed to annihilate every single Jew on the face of the earth, some Slavs were to be spared, as the Third Reich needed slaves to do the manual labour.

As WWII got underway and the Nazis invaded the Slavic lands to the east, they realized they had a "solution" to their master race problem.

Little is known about this nefarious "solution" known as the Lebensborn Program, and less yet is known about the Ukrainians and other Slavs who fell victim to it.

When popular children's author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch found she had a personal connection to it, she resolved to write about it.

The result was her mid-grade novel, Stolen Child, which was recently given a Crystal Kite Award by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. (It was also shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association's children's book of the year award, Saskatchewan's Diamond Willow Award and the Ontario Library Association's Golden Oak Book Award.

It also was named an Ontario Library Association best bet, one of the top juvenile novels of 2010, and year's best by Resource Links, a national journal that reviews resources for children and young adults.

Stolen Child is the story of 12-year old Nadia, a Ukrainian child who had been kidnapped for her blond, blue-eyed Aryan looks by the Nazis in their frenzy to build a master race. After the war she finds herself in Brantford, Ontario where she slowly unravels her past life as a Lebensborn.

Stolen Child is published by Scholastic Canada and is available from the publisher as well as from Amazon and other major booksellers.

Marsha Skrypuch is available for school readings and loves to talk about her writing. She has been interviewed on Nash Holos several times, most recently (May 29, 2011) to talk about Stolen Child. More information about Marsha's books can be found at her website. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on her blog .

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