When Hessy Taft was six months old, her face was used as an example of a perfect Aryan baby. The one wrinkle, which the Nazis didn’t know at the time, was that Taft was actually Jewish.
“I can laugh about it now,” Taft, now 80, told the German newspaper Bild. “But if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”
Taft recently showed a Nazi magazine that featured her photograph to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel, according to The Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom.
Here’s how Taft’s portrait found its way into Nazi propaganda: Taft’s mother, Pauline Levinsons, in 1935, took her daughter to Hans Ballin, a photographer in Berlin, to have Hessy’s photograph taken. Months later, Levinsons noticed her daughter’s picture on the front of the Nazi family magazine Sonne ins Hause. Levinsons was worried that her family’s religious would be discovered so she confronted Ballin who said that he knowingly submitted Hessy’s picture to a contest to find attractive Aryan babies.
“I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous,” Ballin told Levinsons.
Mission accomplished. The picture of Hessy won the contest. The photograph of Taft, according to the Telegraph, is believed to have been selected by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels himself.
The picture of Hessy ended up on Nazi postcards as well. The family kept Taft in the house in fear that she would be discovered. They eventually left Germany and settled in the United States. The Nazis, however, never found out that Hessy was actually Jewish.
Below is video of Taft describing the image:
(Photo credit: Youtube)