Photo Of ‘Perfect’ Aryan Child Used In Nazi Propaganda Was A Jewish Baby

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)

(H/t: Gawker)

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: