- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A photo of 6-month-old Hessy Taft was widely circulated in Nazi propaganda in the 1930s as a poster child for what the ideal Aryan baby should look like.

The only problem? Hessy is Jewish.

“I can laugh about it now,” an 80-year-old Ms. Taft told Germany’s Bild newspaper, The Telegraph reported. “But if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”

During a presentation of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel, Ms. Taft showed guests a copy of Sonne ins Hause, a major Nazi family magazine, that featured her photo on the front cover.


In 1935 Berlin, Ms. Taft’s mother, Pauline Levinson, took her daughter to have her picture taken by a well-known photographer, Hans Ballin. A few months later, the mother was horrified to find out her daughter’s picture was plastered on the front of the Nazi magazine.

Mr. Ballin told the mother he had purposely submitted the photo to a contest to find the most beautiful Aryan baby. It was believed to have been chosen as the winner personally by Joseph Goebbels, The Telegraph reported.

“I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous,” the photographer told the frightened mother, Ms. Taft said.

Ms. Taft’s photograph appeared on widely available Nazi postcards, but her identity was never discovered by the Third Reich. Now, she is a professor of chemistry in New York.

“I feel a little revenge,” she said of presenting her photograph to Yad Vashem, The Telegraph reported. “Something like satisfaction.”