It’s been more than half a century since Adolf Hitler reportedly committed suicide in a Berlin bunker, but historians are still discovering more about the man who plunged the globe into World War II.
Now, in her first-ever interview, Hitler’s official food taster acknowledged the long-believed fact that the German dictator was a vegetarian.
Margot Woelk, 95, told the Times in London that she and several others were forced to eat the Fuhrer’s food before he did to ensure it hadn’t been poisoned. Likely the only surviving member of the group of women who knew Hitler’s secret, the widow said she had no choice in this vocation, which lasted from 1941 to 1944.
“They told me we have to taste the food that Hitler is served,” Woelk said. “Of course, I was afraid. If it had been poisoned, I would not be here today. We were forced to eat it, we had no choice. It was all vegetarian, the most delicious fresh things, from asparagus to peppers and peas, served with rice, and salads. It was all arranged on one plate, just as it was served to him.”
Woelk worked for Hitler’s in the so-called Wolf’s Lair, Germany’s military headquarters in Poland. When the Russians overtook the base in 1944, she was the only one to survive the assault, smuggled to Berlin on a train by a soldier who took pity on her.
“It was quite delicious, the best vegetables and cut fruit,” Woelk said of Hitler's fare. “There was no meat, and I do not remember any fish. Drinks were delivered somewhere else, the SS took them, we did not have to try drinks.”
Woelk was forced to work for Hitler during his 800 days at the headquarters, while her husband served in the SS. The couple reunited in 1946, after each had believed the other had been killed.
Some historians have believed that Hitler’s alleged vegetarianism was fiction, a product of propaganda orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister. In “The Goebbels Diaries 1942-1943” (featured at Google Books in a translation by Louis P. Lochner), Goebbels wrote that Hitler “believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity. Of course he knows that during the war we cannot completely upset our food system. After the war, however, he intends to tackle this problem also. Maybe he is right. Certainly the arguments that he adduces in favor of his standpoint are very compelling.”
Last year, when Hitler’s medical records were offered for sale, they revealed he was a cocaine addict, suffered from excessive flatulence, and received bull testicle injections to boost his sexual appetite.