Hans and Frieda were nine years old in 1945 when Germany was defeated in World War II. The twins were initially sent back to live with the German couple that Himmler had placed them with. They had raised them since birth, so it made sense, but once they were no longer being paid to care for them, the couple refused to take them back. The entire nation stood outraged once it discovered the secret of the Lebensborn program. Hans and Frieda, like many other children of the program were left displaced and greatly ostracized. In 1946 the twins were placed in an orphanage in the city of Landshut. Being kept together had been their only comfort.
Landshut 1948, Frieda woke up and looked down at her mattress, she began to softly whimper as she realized that she had wet the bed once more, “Frieda, did it happen again?” Hans got out of his bed and quietly walked over to his sister. It was still dark outside, and the other children were still asleep.
“Yes,” she looked up feebly at him; a look of shame crossed her face. She knew she would be beaten again for sure. She was after all 12 and considered far too old to still be wetting the bed. Hans did not judge his sister; he only smiled at her and then reached under his mattress pulling out a clean set of linen.
“Quickly change out of you nightgown while I flip the mattress and change the bed.” Hans began pulling off the soiled sheets as soon as she got off the bed and easily flipped it over, making no noise in the process. At 12 Hans was almost six feet tall, bigger than most 15 and 16 year olds at the orphanage.
“Hans if they catch us Helga will beat us both,” Frieda spoke quietly as to not wake any of the other children. Hans smiled at her as he worked.
“Not if we get this done quickly and quietly.” Within moments the sheet and Frieda had both been changed. She slid into back into the bed as Hans scampered down the hall and dropped the dirty linen down the laundry chute. He made it back into his bed a moment before their house mother began rousing everyone up from their slumber. They giggled to each other as they got up and looked around. Helga walked over and glanced over them with a suspicious eye. She checked Frieda’s bed for any signs of moisture. The twins held their breath as she inspected the sheets. She scoffed at them after finding nothing and soon moved on and continued rousing the remaining children in the room.
The day went as well as could be expected, that was until after breakfast. Helga stomped into the cafeteria holding a soiled bed sheet, she made a beeline to the table were the 12 – 14 year olds were eating breakfast and held it up for everyone to see, “So as you can all see, another one of you disgusting children has wet their bed. Unless the culprit confesses there will be no lunch or dinner today for any of you.” The children all looked at her, and then looked around at each other. There was an uncomfortable silence until a boy named Wendell spoke up. “I saw Hans sneaking around before everyone woke up and he dropped something down the laundry chute.”
“Is this true Hans?” Helga stared at the young boy with contempt.
Hans stood up, and Frieda grabbed his arm, but he waved her off and answered the bullish woman, “Yes I wet my bed.”
“That will be five lashes, so how did you get a spare set of sheets?”
“I grabbed them from the laundry.”
“What you mean is that you stole them, which will be another five lashes.”
“Nothing was missing, I didn’t steal anything!”
“But you did take them without permission.”
“Yes I did.”
“That will be another five lashes.”
“For what?” Frieda was near panic, getting fifteen lashes was unheard of as punishment.
“For lying to me,” Frieda produced a urine soiled girl’s nightgown. “I know it was you, who wet the bed again Frieda, but whipping you doesn’t seem to fix that problem so maybe letting your brother take the blame and the punishment, will fix your little bed wetting issue.” Frieda cried as her brother was led away into the yard to be whipped by Helga’s leather lash.