Adolph Hitler had his vision of a perfect Germany pinned down to pure science. He only wanted blonde-haired, blue-eyed people, no Jews or Romani and no homosexuals. Too bad his poster child for the Aryan race was Jewish.
German newspaper bild.de reports 80-year-old Hessy Taft won a photo contest personally judged by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels as the most beautiful Aryan baby. She was featured on the cover of a Nazi magazine as a reward.
“I can laugh about it now,” the Taft told Bild. “But if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”
Taft’s parents moved to Berlin as celebrated opera singers before being caught up in the Nazi’s rise to power. Her mother Pauline Levinson took her to a family photographer when she was six months old.
A few months later, the child was on the cover of Nazi magazine Sonne ins Haus as a deliberate attempt by the photographer, Hans Ballin, to undermine the Nazi regime.
Her family kept her in hiding for fear of being recognized and found out to be Jewish. Her father was arrested in 1938 on a tax charge, but was released when his Nazi Party member accountant defended him. Shortly after, the Levinsons fled to Latvia before coming to the U.S. in 1949.
She recently gave a copy of the magazine to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
“I feel a little revenge,” she said, about presenting her photograph to Yad Vashem. “Something like satisfaction.”
Taft is now a chemistry professor at St. John’s University.