Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark, October 11, 2022
Jennifer Coburn‘s CRADLES OF THE REICH is a fictional account of young women of the Reich, based on true events, frighteningly reminiscent of Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale , this historical novel was inspired by the true and largely untold stories of the Lebensborn program, Himmler’s state-supported homes housing young women whose sole purpose was to give birth to pure blooded Aryan children, to be raised by SS families as future leaders of new Nazi Germany.
Told in alternating, points of view, CRADLES OF THE REICH is the story of three women at the Heim Hochland Lebensborn home in Bavaria just before the outbreak of the Second World War. The women seemingly have nothing in common but wind up radically altering the trajectories of one another’s lives. Gundi Schiller is a 20-year-old student from Berlin, and a member of the Nazi resistance movement. An Aryan beauty, she is forced to live at Heim Hochland after she finds herself pregnant. Not only does she despise the Nazis, but if her baby’s true paternity is revealed, her newborn’s life would be in jeopardy.
Hilde Kramer, on the other hand, is a true believer who has succeeded at little in her 18 years until she manages to seduce a high-ranking Nazi official, and is overjoyed about spending her pregnancy at Heim Hochland. She is as pathetic as she is cruel. Irma Binz is a 44-year-old nurse who, after a humiliating break up with her fiancé, accepts an offer to work at the maternity home. Initially naïve, she slowly comes to understand the true nature of the Lebensborn Society.
“Jen is the most incredible speaker we have had in the 20 years of Bageis and Books. Cradles of the Reich was filled with information I never knew about and she made it all come to life.” – Nancy Norris, Hadassah West
“Jen is a pro, and we would happily bring her back. Her presentation, including historic photos, on her important and fascinating book, Cradles afthe Reich, was excellent.” Andrea Mandel Pass, Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B’nai Israel – Debbie Doliner Tampa JCCs Jewish Book Festival
“Jennifer Coburn gives a fabulous presentation that will leave you wanting more. Run to get Cradles afthe Reich. It is fascinating, well-written, and gripping.” – Liz Hamilton, Carmel Clay Public Library
“Jennifer Coburn recently presented to an audience of nearly 700 at the Carmel Clay Public Library. She is a riveting presenter of her well-researched historical debut, which I was unable to put the book down until the final page.” – Shari Berman Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia
Jennifer Coburn’s talk held the audience’s attention and elicited visceral reactions and great questions. With a straightforward approach, combined with humor, her presentation made for a wonderful program at the JCC – Susan McBeth, Adventures by the Book
“I can always count on Jennifer to captivate audiences with her passion, dynamic personality, and her subject matter knowledge. She’s a polished, professional, and engaging speaker whom I highly recommend!” – Trina Rushing, Henderson County Public Library
“Jennifer Coburn presented an engaging, incredibly well-researched history of the Lebensborn Society and Cradles afthe Reich. Our audience was both fascinated and heartbroken by her description of the harsh realities of this time in history.” – Raven DiSalvo-Hess Mandel JCC Palm Beaches
“Cradles of the Reich was truly fascinating and made for a wonderful discussion. It was the perfect choice for our meeting, and the extra insight and information Jennifer provided was incredibly impactful.” – Cathe Frierman, Books & Bites