Hessy Levinsons Taft
Hessy Levinsons Taft
Hessy Levinsons as featured in Nazi propaganda materials.
|Born||May 17, 1934|
|Known for||Jewish child whose photo was featured in Nazi Germany as the "Perfect Aryan Baby."|
|Parent(s)||Jacob Levinsons |
Hessy Levinsons Taft (born May 17, 1934) is a woman born to Jewish parents in Berlin. She was featured as an infant in Nazi propaganda, after her photo won a contest to find "the most beautiful Aryan baby" in 1935. Taft's image became one of the most subversive of the 20th century when it was subsequently distributed widely by the Nazi party in a variety of materials, such as magazines and postcards, to promote Aryanism.
Taft's parents, Jacob and Pauline (Levine) Levinsons, were unaware of their photographer's decision to enter the photograph into the contest until learning that the photo of their daughter had been selected by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels as the winner.
Fearing that the Nazis would discover that their family was Jewish, Taft's mother informed the photographer that they were Jewish. The photographer told her mother, Pauline, that he knew they were Jewish and deliberately entered Taft's photograph into the contest because he "wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous". In July 2014 Taft told the German-language newspaper Bild that "I can laugh about it now, "but if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn't be alive."
In 1938, her father was briefly arrested by the SS, during which the Nazis were still distributing her image. During the same year, the family emigrated to France and settled in Paris, then later moved to Cuba and from there to the United States in 1949. In 2014, Hessy Levinsons Taft was a chemistry professor at St. John's University in New York.
- "Oral history interview with Hessy Levinsons Taft". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. February 15, 1990. Archived from the original on August 31, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
- McCoy, Terrence (July 7, 2014). "The 'perfect Aryan' child used in Nazi propaganda was actually Jewish". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
- Huggler, Justin (July 1, 2014). "Nazi 'perfect Aryan' poster child was Jewish". The Telegraph. Berlin. Archived from the original on August 31, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
- Sidon, Adi (July 1, 2014). "Ich war Hitlers Propaganda-Baby" [I Was Hitler's Propaganda Baby]. Bild (in German). Retrieved August 31, 2015.