|Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg, Yedioth Ahoronot|
What they didn't know then was that the cute baby in the winning photo was a Jewish girl named Hessy Levinsons, who is now 80-year-old Hessy Taft, a chemistry professor in New York.
Taft recently presented a copy of a Nazi magazine from 1935 with her baby photo on the cover to Yad Vashem, Israel's center for Holocaust research, documentation, and education.
As Dr. Ruchama Weiss and Rabbi Levi Brackman wrote in Ynet News, the online version of Israel's Yediot Ahoronot newspaper,
Taft's parents managed to scrape together enough money for professional photographer Hans Ballin to snap their baby.
A few months later, the family was shocked to discover that their daughter's image was on the front cover of a Nazi propaganda magazine called "Sun in the House", which was edited by Kurt Herrman, a friend of Hermann Goering and a staunch Nazi.
Ballin deliberately entered the photograph in a contest for the most beautiful Aryan baby, and when Taft's mother questioned his actions, he told her: "I know, but I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous." The winning photograph was personally chosen by Goebbels.
The family fled Germany to Paris in 1938, and then moved to Cuba before arriving in the United States in 1949.
The Nazis never discovered that their perfect baby, whose image they heavily disseminated, was in fact Jewish.
"I feel a little revenge, something like satisfaction," Taft told the German newspaper Bild.
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