Goebbels used my photo to show ideal Aryan child

By Rosa Doherty, July 3, 2014

A Jewish woman has revealed that a picture of her as a baby was used by the Nazis to portray the ideal Aryan infant.

A photo of Hessy Taft as a six-month-old baby was selected by Nazi communications minister Joseph Goebbels to be used in propaganda material.

Speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem this week, Ms Taft, now in her 80s and a professor of chemistry in New York, said "I feel a little revenge... something like satisfaction."

Hans Ballin, a photographer in Berlin, had entered the image into a search for the perfect Aryan baby.

Ms 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."

Ms Taft added that the Nazis did not know that she had been sent in by a photographer who wanted to "make them look ridiculous".

Her parents, Jacob and Pauline Levinsons, had moved to Berlin from Latvia to pursue careers in classical music in 1928.

Mrs Levinsons took her daughter to Mr Ballin to be photographed in 1935, but was horrified to find the picture on the front cover of Sonne ins Hause, a Nazi family magazine, months later.

The image appeared on Nazi postcards, and she was even recognised by an aunt in Lithuania.

The Nazis never discovered Ms Taft's true identity despite her parents' fears.

Last updated: 5:34pm, July 3 2014