Hessy Taft is now an 80-year-old professor in New York. But during the mid-1930s, she was a baby in Berlin — an incredibly cute baby who was chosen for the cover of a Nazi magazine with the intention of showing an example of the perfect Aryan child.
Little did the magazine’s editors know, their cover photo baby was actually Jewish.
“I can laugh about it now,” Taft told a German newspaper. “But if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”
From The Telegraph:
In 1935, with the city rife with anti-semitic attacks, Pauline Levinsons took her six-month-old daughter Hessy to a well-known Berlin photographer to have her baby photograph taken.
A few months later, she was horrified to find her daughter’s picture on the front cover of Sonne ins Hause, a major Nazi family magazine.
Terrified the family would be exposed as Jews, she rushed to the photographer, Hans Ballin. He told her he knew the family was Jewish, and had deliberately submitted the photograph to a contest to find the most beautiful Aryan baby.
“I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous,” the photographer told her.
The photographer’s scheme was a success and eventually won the contest – with the picture believed to have been picked personally by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.
Watch Taft tell her story in the video below: