Caroline Nilsen

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NilsenPhD Candidate

Major Field: Modern European and Gender History
Konrad Jarausch 



BA University of Pittsburgh, 2009
MA University of Houston, 2013
MA Thesis: “Breeding Hate: The Story of the Norwegian Lebensborn Children”

Research Interests

My dissertation will explore the history and contested legacy in Norway of Der Lebensborn e.V., an SS eugenics program founded in 1935 that aimed to raise the number of “Aryan” children by supporting “racially pure and healthy” mothers and raising their offspring (born both within and without wedlock) in the spirit of Nazi ideology. I will examine the occupation policy of the SS and Wehrmacht in Norway, with a focus on the Lebensborn program and the various responses it elicited from the Norwegian people, a population highly valued by the Nazi elite for their “Aryan” genetics. I will then analyze collective memories of the Nazi occupation and competing public discourses on resistance and collaboration in post-war Norway. The Norwegian public laid claim to a broad range of resistance activities undertaken during Nazi occupation, however it also had to grapple with the wide extent of collaboration. How did the Norwegian government and public come to emphasize their country’s resistance to the Nazis, while simultaneously navigating the reality of wartime collaboration, through discourse and action? Further, how did the Lebensborn mothers and their children live with their identity as the physical, personified evidence of Norwegian collaboration, and how did they eventually come to contest the wide-ranging abuse they experienced at the hands of their countrymen?

Curriculum Vitae

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