Hitler's "Perfect Aryan Baby" Turns Out To Be Jewish
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After Hitler rose to power, the Nazis began to consider the image problems that could arise from them being perceived as human-shaped garbage bags filled with spoiled autopsy trimmings. So to give the Reich a family-friendly vibe, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels began the search for a "perfect Aryan" baby to use in a national campaign that would show everyone what the Nazis were all about.
USC Shoah FoundationSo ... soiling themselves?
After spending days huddled over his new collection of submitted baby pictures, Goebbels finally found a photo of an anonymous, cherub-faced little girl with brown hair and dark eyes. Granted, she wasn't the "Aryan ideal" of blond hair and blue eyes, but Goebbels sort of had this thing about dark-eyed brunettes.
"I don't know what it is, Mein Fuhrer; she just reminds me of someone special."
So What Went Wrong?
The nameless baby had her face slapped on magazine covers, postcards, and propaganda material all throughout Germany. This caused a bit of an alarm for Jewish Berliners Jacob and Pauline Levinsons, who noted that the literal poster child for the Master Race was their 6-month-old daughter, Hessy.
It turns out that a few months earlier Hessy's parents took her to have her portrait done by photographer Hans Ballin, who hated the Nazis with the passion of Indiana Jones and the wit of Charlie Chaplin. When Ballin was asked to submit photos for Goebbels' contest, he thought that it would be hilarious if the Nazis' handpicked spokesbaby was secretly Jewish, so he surreptitiously submitted Hessy's picture to Hitler's right-hand man.
Ohad Zwigenberg, Yedioth AhoronotNow she is legally allowed to say she once tricked Hitler at any party she goes to.