Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holy Shit, Hessy Taft!

Hessy Levinsons Taft

The baby above is Hessy Taft. Cute little bugger, isn't she?

Well, the Nazis certainly thought so. In 1935, the Nazi magazine Sonne ins Haus (The Sun in the House) had their own version of the "cutest baby contest" that magazines often have. Except they called theirs "The Most Beautiful Aryan Baby" contest. The chief judge was none other than Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbles.
Joseph Goebbles
A considerably less handsome specimen.
Baby Hessy was taken to a photographer when she was a mere six months old. Without telling the parents, the photographer submitted the picture to the magazine, confident that he had found the prettiest baby in all the Third Reich. Goebbles agreed with him, and soon little Hessy's face was on the cover of the Nazi Magazine and plastered all over shop windows, magazine ads, and postcards throughout Germany.

You may already see where this is going. See, Taft is actually Hessy's married name. She was born Hessy Levinsons, and despite being renowned as a beautiful Aryan baby, she was, in fact, quite Jewish. The photographer explained to the family that he was ordered to submit his 10 favorite baby pictures to the contest, and he submitted the one he thought was most beautiful partly because he wanted to make the Nazi philosophy look ridiculous.
Which, as you might imagine, was not as easy back then.
Luckily for the Levinsons, the Nazi Party never realized they picked a Jewish baby as an example of what all good Aryan babies should look like. Even luckier, they escaped Germany after Hessy's father was captured by the Gestapo then released thanks to a good word from a Nazi he knew.

The cover photo of Hessy Taft is one of the most delicious pieces of irony I've ever seen. The Nazis were so authoritative, so certain of the pseudoscience behind their horrific racism...and yet here they were, failing at so basic a test of said pseudoscience as picking out a non-Jewish baby as a mascot.

Holy shit.

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