From thousands of photographic entries in a competition run by the Nazi Party to find the ‘perfect Aryan baby’, Hessy Taft’s image was handpicked by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels to adorn the front covers of magazines and postcards everywhere within Hitler’s Third Reich
The Nazi poster girl was chosen by Goebbels to represent the “perfect Aryan ideal,” yet by selecting the six-month old Hessy as a symbol of their warped ideology, the Nazis proved just how ridiculous, corrupt and morally bankrupt they truly were, because Hessy was in fact Jewish.
In 1935 Hessy’s mother took her to renowned Berlin photographer Hans Ballin to have her baby picture taken.
Yet what Hessy’s mother didn’t know is that the Berlin photographer secretly submitted the photograph to the Nazis competition to find the “perfect Aryan baby.”
You can just imagine Hessy’s mother’s shock when some months later she accidentally stumbled across a picture of her baby girl splashed all over the cover of a Nazi family magazine called Sonne ins Hause.
Angry with such a betrayal and terrified her family would be exposed as Jews in a country where anti-semitic attacks were rife, she confronted the photographer who told her he had only did it because “I wanted to make the Nazis look ridiculous.”
The Telegraph reported that in 1938, Hessy’s father who lost his job at an opera company because he was Jewish, was arrested on a trumped up tax charge. Fortunately, he was later released and the family fled to Paris.
When the French capital fell to the Nazis, they fled again, this time to Cuba, before finally settling in the United States in 1949.
The Nazis never discovered Hessy’s true identity or realized that their poster girl was actually Jewish, despite her image appearing on widely available Nazi postcards, from one of which her Aunt in distant Memel recognized her.
Today the former Nazi poster girl lives in New York where she is a professor of chemistry.
The 80-year-old recently presented a Nazi magazine featuring her baby photograph to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel and said “I feel a little revenge. Something like satisfaction.”
Reflecting on the time when she was hand-picked by Joseph Goebbels’s propaganda machine as a symbol of all the Nazis believed was genetically superior, Prof Taft told Germany’s Bild newspaper, “I can laugh about it now, but if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.”