Nazi Poster Baby

naziYou never know what might turn up in your family history. For one woman, the fascinating turn of events was not about a grandmother or great aunt, but rather her own childhood.

Jacob and Pauline Levinsons (originally from Latvia) of Berlin, Germany on May 17, 1934 were proud parents of a baby daughter, named Hessy. At age six months that had the baby’s photo portrait done by professional photographer, Hans Ballin. Very pleased with the child’s photo they framed it, placing it on the family piano. Just six months later they saw the Feb. 24, 1935 German Nazi magazine “Sonne ins Hause”. Who is on the cover of that issue but none other than their daughter’s photo, the very one taken months earlier. She was selected for the cover to represent the ideal Aryan baby.  nazi-2

The parents who were Jewish, went back to photographer Ballin, asking how did this happen. When he was asked to submit ten baby photos, along with other local photographers into a competition spearheaded by the Nazi’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in search for the perfect Aryan baby. He sent in the cute photo of Hessy, knowing she was Jewish, just to show how ridiculous the Nazi propaganda was about the supreme Aryan race. Hessy’s photo was selected by Goebbels as the ideal Aryan baby and would not only appear on that magazine cover but also in numerous postcards, store front windows, advertizements, additional magazines, birthday cards, and posters.

Nazi--3The family did keep a low profile from then on fearing the Nazi party would discover their ‘mistake’. By 1938 and war on the horizon, the family moved to Latvia, then Paris, France. With the fall of Paris, they managed to escape to Cuba. After World War Two, the family resettled in New York City by 1949. They felt very relieved that they were never discovered. It was also a bit irony that the Nazi party accepted Hessy’s photo immediately to symbolize the ideals of their political goals.

This was no family story or legend but rather proof in the original family portrait and the same image used as Nazi propaganda. You never know what might be discovered.nazi--4

Photos: The Feb. 1935 issue of “Sonne ins Hause”, Hessy Levinsons Taft, Nazi members with the baby poster and Hessy’s portrait on a birthday card.


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