Hitler When a Baby
In 1933, a picture [above left] supposedly showing Adolf Hitler as a baby began circulating throughout England and America. The child in the picture looked positively menacing. Its fat mouth was twisted into a sneer, and it scowled at the camera from dark, squinted eyes. A greasy mop of hair fell over its forehead.
The image was distributed by Acme Newspictures, Inc. and appeared in many newspapers and magazines. For instance, in October 1933 the Chicago Tribune printed it alongside a photo of the adult Hitler addressing 500,000 farmers and storm troopers, above the caption, “Two Pictures of Hitler.” The Winnipeg Free Press ran the picture with the caption: “This is a picture of a man who controls the destiny of a mighty nation, as he appeared when he was not quite one year old. Do you think this photo is prophetic of the figure he has become? The picture is one of Adolf Hitler, who was born in 1889.”
However, the baby picture didn’t actually show the infant führer. The German consulate in Chicago wrote a letter to the Chicago Tribune correcting the error:
In the … Tribune of October 22, 1933 there appeared under the title ‘Two pictures of Hitler’ two photographs .. The alleged ‘baby picture’ … was sent to the Foreign Office in Berlin and the Consulate General was recently advised that the photograph stated to be a ‘baby picture’ of the Reichs-Chancellor is a falsification.
If the baby in the picture wasn’t Adolf Hitler, then who was it? The answer to this question wasn’t known until 1938.
Mrs. Harriet Downs of Ohio happened to see the picture in a magazine and immediately recognized it as her son, John May Warren. However, in the original image her son looked cute, bright, and wholesome [above right]. Someone had darkened the shadows around the child’s face to give him a more sinister look.
However, it still remained a mystery how John Warren’s picture had ended up in Austria in the hands of a photo forger. That mystery has never been solved.
Real baby Hitler.