Nazis' Ideal Aryan Baby Was Actually Jewish

'Telegraph' shares Hessy Taft's story

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 2, 2014 2:44 PM CDT | Updated Jul 6, 2014 9:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – It turns out the Nazis' vision of the ideal Aryan baby—one that was slapped on the cover of a magazine, on postcards, and disseminated in party propaganda—was a Jewish baby. The Telegraph resurfaces the remarkable story of Hessy Taft (born Hessy Levinsons), a now 80-year-old who in 1935, at just six months, was taken by her mother to a Berlin photographer to have her baby photo taken. Months later, Pauline Levinsons spied her daughter's photo on the cover of the Nazi magazine Sonne ins Hause.

Worried their Jewish identity would surface as a result, she hurried back to Hans Ballin, who explained to her that he "wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous"—and so the photographer intentionally entered the young Hessy into a contest looking for the most beautiful Aryan baby, one thought to be judged by Joseph Goebbels himself. The truth of the baby's identity never came to light, though Hessy was kept out of public sight by her parents, who feared she'd be recognized. A short time later the family fled Germany for Latvia, then Paris, Cuba, and finally the United States. Haaretz points out that Taft's story isn't an untold one: In fact, it's published on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum website. But it's getting a fresh look after Taft recently gave Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial a copy of the magazine cover. "I feel a little revenge," the Telegraph quotes her as saying. "Something like satisfaction." (In other Nazi news: Was Hitler a billionaire tax dodger?)

Front cover photograph of Hessy Levinsons, the Jewish winner of the most beautiful Aryan baby contest, published on the cover of a Nazi magazine.   ("Sonne ins Haus" magazine (Life time: Defunct Nazi magazine), via Wikimedia Commons)
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