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Unlikely Poster Child

Winning Third Reich photograph for most beautiful Aryan baby

In 2014 Hessy Taft presented the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel with a Nazi magazine featuring her baby photograph on the front cover, and told the story of how she became an unlikely poster child for the Third Reich.
Unlikely Poster Child thanks to Hessy Taft

Nazi party propaganda inadvertently acclaims a Jewish poster child

Unlikely Poster Child thanks to Hessy Taft

Unlikely Poster Child thanks to Hessy Taft

When Hessy Taft was six months old, she was a poster child for the Nazis. Her photograph was chosen as the image of the ideal Aryan baby, and distributed in party propaganda. But what the Nazis didn't know was that their perfect baby was really Jewish. “I can laugh about it now,” the 80-year-old Taft told Germany’s Bild newspaper in an interview. “But if the Nazis had known who I really was, I wouldn’t be alive.” Her parents, Jacob and Pauline Levinsons, both talented singers, moved to Berlin from Latvia to pursue careers in classical music in 1928, only to find themselves caught up in the Nazis’ rise to power. Her father lost his job at an opera company because he was Jewish, and had to find work as a door-to-door salesman. 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 look ridiculous,” the photographer told her. He succeeded - the picture won the contest, and was believed to have been chosen personally by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Frightened she would be recognised on the streets and questions asked about her identity, Taft’s parents kept her at home. Her photograph appeared on widely available Nazi postcards, where she was recognized by an aunt in distant Memel, now part of Lithuania. But the Nazis never discovered Taft’s true identity. In 1938, her father was arrested by the Gestapo on a trumped up tax charge, but released when his accountant, a Nazi party member, came to his defense. After that, the family fled Germany. They moved first to Latvia, before settling in Paris only for the city to fall to the Nazis. With the help of the French resistance, they escaped again, this time to Cuba, and the family moved to the United States in 1949. Today the Jewish woman who was once a Nazi poster child is a Professor of Chemistry at the Catholic St. John’s University in New York City. On presenting her magazine cover to Yad Vashem these many years later, Professor Taft said, 'I feel a little revenge, something like satisfaction.'

QuotaBills
Oppression can only survive through silence. - Armen de Monteflores

I don't want to survive. I want to live. - 12 Years a Slave

A poet can survive everything but a misprint. - Oscar Wilde

Survival is a major contributor to longevity. - Unknown

Humor is one of the best ingredients of survival. - Aung San Suu Kyi

The elephant can survive only if forests survive. - Mark Shand

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor. - Unknown

Britain's goal is not to survive, but to prevail. - Winston Churchill

My train of thought derailed. There were no survivors. - Unknown

You only have to survive in England and all is forgiven you. - Alan Bennett

I might survive a few days at sea. Probably not as long as Pi. - Suraj Sharma

It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value. - Arthur C. Clarke

We'd show an Alzheimer's survivor here, if there were one. - Unknown

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value. - Stephen Hawking

Creative minds have been known to survive any sort of bad training. - Anna Freud

The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul. - Victor Hugo

Cause Change & Lead
Accept Change & Survive
Resist Change & Die - Ray Norda

You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive. - Sheryl Sandberg

Better one line that will survive the author than a hundred books outlived. - Unknown

The surprising thing about young fools is how many survive to become old fools. - Doug Larson

Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive. - Wallace Irwin

The turkey is living proof that an animal can survive with no intelligence at all. - Harvey D. Comstock

Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive. - Andy Grove

It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive. - Louise Bourgeois

It used to be that people needed products to survive. Now products need people to survive. - Nicholas Johnson

We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. - William Glasser

The ballet toe shoe is one of the few instruments of torture to survive intact into our time. - Unknown

Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. - Joseph Campbell

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. - Doug Larson

One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation. - Oscar Wilde

Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard for the night, she can still survive. - WC Fields

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change. - Charles Darwin

It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth. - Virginia Satir

Love without hope will not survive. Love without faith changes nothing. Love gives power to hope and faith. - Toba Beta

Love, like democracy, can survive almost any attack - except neglect, indifference and maybe an arrow in the back. - Unknown

Plenty of people who survive tragedies end up ambivalent about danger--frightened by it, yet strangely drawn to it. - Keith Ablow

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts. - Robert H. Schuller

Camping is not a date; it's an endurance test. If you can survive camping with someone, you should marry them on the way home. - Yvonne Prinz

No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be thankful for life. Someone somewhere else is fighting to survive. - Unknown

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. - J K Rowling

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. - Maya Angelou

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. - C S Lewis

Victory at all cost, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. - Winston Churchill

Not every man can carry a full cup. Sudden elevation frequently leads to pride and a fall. The most exacting test of all is to survive prosperity. - Oswald Sanders


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