Margot Woelk kept her wartime job a secret until shortly after celebrating her 95th birthday. Woelk, it turns out, was hired during World War II to be Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s official food taster. She was one of 15 women who were used to sample the menu items served to the German leader to ensure that he would not be poisoned while dining at his command center in Berlin.
Woelk admits that Hitler became severely paranoid that the Allies would be able to poison him through the food he was served and therefore hired a small army of young women who tasted every one of the items before it was served in the dining room of “Wolf’s Lair”.
“He was a vegetarian. He never ate any meat during the entire time I was there,” Woelk said of the Nazi leader. “And Hitler was so paranoid that the British would poison him — that’s why he had 15 girls taste the food before he ate it himself.”
Woelk reports that Hitler was a strict vegetarian and never let one morsel of meat pass his lips.
Although the array of foods he was served was only of the finest quality, Woelk admits she and the other food tasters lived in the constant fear that one day they would pay the ultimate price for being one of his food tasters and die from vegetables, pasta or rice that had been injected with a poison intended for Hitler.
“The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta,” she recalled. “But this constant fear — we knew of all those poisoning rumors and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal.”
She managed to escape by train from Berlin, but later found out that her food tastings colleagues all faced the firing squad.
After the war Woelk started a job in pension insurance and was surprised when her husband, in Russian captivity and presumed dead, turned up unexpectedly. She had not heard from him in two years and did not recognize him.
“I’ve had a life full of drama and now, at the age of 96, I’m back living in the same house I lived in before the war.”
“For decades, I tried to shake off those memories,” she said. “But they always came back to haunt me at night.”
HITLER’S FOOD TASTER FEARED DEATH WITH EVERY MORSEL