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Margo Wölk, 96, is the last alive of the 15 women Adolf Hitler employed as his official food (poison) tasters
Wölk risked her life every time she took a bite of his food.
And you thought you hated your job. Margo Wölk, 96, is the last alive of 15 women employed as Adolf Hitler’s food tasters during World War II. After 70 years of silence, Wölk is finally speaking out to tell her story. At age 25, she was hired to be one of Hitler’s food tasters (the Nazi dictator was terrified of being poisoned). In an interview with Germany’s RBB television channel, Wölk tells all: ranging from the plain vegetarian meals that she and the other girls were fed, to how they would cry after each meal, fearing that death was just around the next corner, or bite.
“Some of the girls started to shed tears as they began eating because they were so afraid,” said Wölk. “We had to eat it all up. Then we had to wait an hour, and every time we were frightened that we were going to be ill. We used to cry like dogs because we were so glad to have survived.”
Wölk was forced into servitude as a food taster after her husband was drafted into the German army, and she moved in with her mother, who just happened to live next door to the dictator’s lair. Despite being quite geographically close to Hitler, Wölk never actually met him. She herself escaped the job by fleeing to Berlin, and then Russia in 1945. She was eventually caught by the Russian army, and abused by British officers for two weeks straight. Both Wölk and her husband survived the war with nightmares of what they had both experienced, and later separated.
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How Hitler spent his last days
After nine months in Adolf Hitler's bunker, with Berlin about to fall, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven was allowed to leave.
'As Hitler shook my hand and wished me luck, I saw a glint of envy in his eye,' says the 91-year-old former Wehrmacht aide-de-camp. A day later, on 30 April 1945, Hitler was dead and the terrified soldier was in a canoe on Havel River, dodging Soviet shelling, trying to reach the last German-held position in Berlin. Sixty years on, he believes a 'legion of guardian angels' spared him death at the hands of the Soviets, of fanatical Nazis and of 'primitive sentries' who tortured him in a British prisoner-of-war camp.
Today Baron Freytag von Loringhoven is the only survivor among the close advisers of the Führer - who he says was probably a drug addict. For many years a Germany steeped in guilt did not want to hear his story. Now it has taken a French publisher, Perrin, to release Dans le Bunker de Hitler - his unique account of the days leading up to the suicide of the Führer and his wife Eva Braun. The baron also helped the makers of the film Downfall, which charts Hitler's end and opens in British cinemas on Friday.
A nobleman from the Baltic states, Freytag von Loringhoven was viewed with suspicion by the Nazis 'who loathed education, real culture and tradition'. Unlike Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge, whose memoirs were published before her death two years ago, he claims he never fell under the Führer's spell and insists the distinction between the professional Wehrmacht and politicised Waffen-SS was real. 'After the war I had the unpleasant feeling of having served as a combustible, as heating wood, for the adventures of a charlatan,' he says. 'I had served a criminal regime while remaining loyal to my military convictions.'
It was only as a prisoner of war that he realised the Nazis had murdered Jews 'on an industrial scale', he says. ' We didn't even know the names of the concentration camps.'
In the bunker, Freytag von Loringhoven observed Hitler divide and rule among sycophants and soldiers. 'He created parallel command structures that competed for resources and he appointed political officers to spy on military professionals. Right until the end, he kept all the cards in his hand.
'Hitler's only military experience had been as a corporal during the First World War. He knew only one thing - the ' fanatischer Widerstand ' (fanatical resistance), and I can still hear him say the words. Blitzkrieg was not devised by him but by military strategists whom he later sidelined. As soon as we suffered the first setbacks he became deaf to calls to switch to modern, mobile defence techniques. He saw them as defeatist since they sometimes required giving up territory.
'Hitler could be very aggressive but towards the end he was very controlled. He could be pleasant and even warm. He could be very charming - he was a real Austrian. People were impressed when he asked them questions about their lives. It was a way of controlling them. He played with people.'
Hitler swore by his doctor, Theodor Morell, a charlatan who gave him glucose injections and stimulants. 'Morell made a lot of money during the war, not least with a louse powder we were given on the eastern front which smelt awful and was useless.' The baron holds Morell in particular contempt: 'I shall never forget how he begged, on 22 and 23 April, when the women were allowed to leave. He sat there like a fat sack of potatoes and begged to fly out. And he did.'
For the last few months of the war Hitler lived in the fetid air of the bunker, concealed beneath eight metres of concrete, occasionally going outside to play with his dog.
'Hitler got up at around midday. The main event was the afternoon meeting on the military situation. It would be announced, " Meine Herren, der Führer kommt ", and everyone made the Nazi salute. Hitler entered the room, shook everyone's hand - it was a limp handshake - and sat down. He was the only one allowed to sit at the map table, which he adored because he was obsessed by detail, and occasionally made concessions to older officers, allowing them to sit on a stool.'
Freytag von Loringhoven, a tall, elegant man with thin bands of gold on the little finger of his left hand and a tweed jacket that looks tailor-made, albeit some time ago, served at Stalingrad. 'I had studied law but the profession was being taken over by the Nazis. My family had been ruined and I had no way of buying my independence. The Wehrmacht seemed an honourable career.'
Sitting in an armchair in his Munich study, speaking perfect English punctuated by German adjectives, he occasionally reaches into a pile of books to check facts. Maria, the housekeeper who cares for him and his third wife, Herta, 76, has brought coffee. Next to his china cup lie two bound notebooks, marked 'Wartime Log'. In them is an anecdote the baron especially wants Observer readers to hear: 'While I was a prisoner, I met a German counter-intelligence officer. He had been based in Holland and had infiltrated the Dutch resistance movement and learnt the code they used with London. One day he got the idea he wanted a new suit. He sent a message to British intelligence and they answered, 'OK, what are your measurements?" He sent them, and not long afterwards he received a parcel with three Savile Row suits!'
But the British did not treat the baron well after his capture on 13 May 1945. 'My British guards would not believe I was not a Nazi,' he says. 'For three days, from morning until evening, they forced me to clean my cell and scrape paint off tiles with my nails. They kicked me and poured water on me. At the end of the day they took my wet clothes and forced me to sleep naked on the wet floor.'
After the war, his wife left him, and he was destitute. A friend gave him work in a publishing firm. He married again and his son is now a diplomat at the German embassy in Moscow. In 1956 he returned to a military career and spent three years in Washington DC as a member of Nato's Standing Group. 'I was the only German officer in the planning group of the Atlantic Alliance, reporting to three superiors who were American, British and French. All had fought against Germany but my background did not prevent us from becoming firm friends.'
Freytag von Loringhoven agrees with historical opinion that the Treaty of Versailles, signed after the First World War, was a major cause of the second because it humiliated Germany. But he adds: 'There was more. There was a leader who was like no other man I have ever met.'
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A TASTE OF EVIL – A novel
Fans of Gordon Pape’s and Tony Asper’s 80+ previous books will be surprised and delighted with this unique and natural collaboration between two bestselling nonfiction authors. Historical war fiction readers will appreciate the authentic setting and characters that pull you emotionally into the novel. It’s a novel that reads like a movie script!
The plot covers the time frame from Sept. 1, 1939 to the fall of Berlin in May 1945. Adolf Hitler had several female tasters who sampled every dish put on his table. This is the fictionalized story of one of those women and her association with Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect and Minister of Armaments, as they become linked by a plot to assassinate the Nazi leader.
The book begins at the von Bismarck family home in Potsdam on the day Germany invades Poland. Concerned for her safety, her parents send Gretchen to a private school in Bern, Switzerland for what they hope will be the duration of a short war. However, Gretchen is caught innocently taking pictures of the area around the school and her paranoid Swiss headmistress, fearing the country is Germany’s next target, sends her home.
Meantime Albert Speer, whose story is interlaced with Gretchen’s, gears up the German war machine and accompanies Hitler to Paris after the fall of France to celebrate the victory.
Back home, Gretchen persuades her reluctant parents to use their influence to get her a job in the kitchen of Berlin’s prestigious Hotel Adlon, where she has always wanted to apprentice to be a chef. The hotel is only a few blocks away from their Berlin apartment. She gets a job as a dishwasher but her good looks and obvious culinary talents earn her quick promotions. One evening she is pressed into service as a waitress at a private dinner that includes Himmler, Goebbels, and Goering. Goering is entranced by her, calling her “a vision of Aryan youth” and instructs his photographer to take her picture with the group. The photo later appears in the newspaper Das Reich. Her birth mother, a Jew who has never had contact with her daughter except from afar, sees it.
Goering is so taken with Gretchen that he prevails upon Albert Speer, who knows the family (her father is an architect in Speer’s firm), to offer her a position as one of Hitler’s food tasters. She is told that the appointment is top secret and that she must swear never to tell anyone what she is doing. The job will involve travelling with Hitler on occasion, including to Obersalzberg and Wolf’s Lair. After much soul-searching, she agrees to submit to an onerous test to determine if she qualifies. Hitler himself shows up to witness the test. He is about to taste from one of the bowls of soup when she knocks the spoon out of his hand. It turns out it was poisoned, to test the candidates, and Gretchen smelled it. She gets the job.
As all this is happening, the war is taking a turn for the worse, with losses on the Russian front mounting. Speer is learning more about the concentration camps and the growing use of gas chambers for mass murder. Although he is loyal to Hitler, he is becoming increasingly concerned.
Also concerned is Gretchen’s birth mother, who had once worked in the von Bismarck home. When the family found they could not have a child, it was arranged that Krista would carry von Bismarck’s baby and surrender it to them at birth in exchange for a large amount of money and a letter of reference. She had to agree never to disclose that she was the mother.
Now, with Jews being rounded up and sent to the camps, Krista makes the hazardous trip back to Berlin to tell her daughter the truth and warn her of the danger she is in. Gretchen cannot believe what she is hearing and confronts her parents. In an emotional scene, they confirm the story.
As a result, Gretchen becomes much more sensitive to stories she hears about the treatment of Jews and other minorities. Because of her position, she overhears snippets of conversation and catches glimpse of documents that seem to verify the truth of the rumors.
In July 1944, Gretchen travels with Hitler to Wolf’s Lair, where an important strategy meeting involving many of the country’s top generals is to be held. She is in the kitchen when a thunderous explosion rocks the compound. Once it is clear what happened, she helps to tend the wounded, including Hitler himself. In the aftermath, she witnesses Hitler’s rage at the perpetrators and his merciless revenge. She is appalled by his cruelty and vindictiveness.
Back in Berlin, contacted again by her mother to be told that her maternal grandmother, Krista’s mother, has just been sent to Ravensbruck, where she will likely be executed. Desperate, Gretchen does two dangerous things. First, she asks her father to intercede with Speer to obtain her grandmother’s release. Second, she visits the long-time family doctor, a Jew, and tells him of her outrage with Hitler and the decision she has reached to poison him. At first the doctor is reluctant, remembering the Hippocratic oath. But then he thinks of the thousands of people dying in the camps every day and agrees to help her. They develop a plot that will necessitate Gretchen ingesting the poison herself.
In the midst of this, Kurt and Gretchen become lovers. She confides some of her fears to him and he appears to be sympathetic to her views.
As the war continues to go badly, Albert Speer is also coming to the conclusion that Germany would be better off without Hitler, albeit for different reasons. He sees the country being destroyed through Hitler’s scorched earth policy as the German military suffers more defeats and Allied bombing attacks escalate. Finally, he picks up the phone, calls the maker of the gas being used at the camps, and asks to have a sample of the latest version sent to him.
In the winter of 1945, Hitler retreats to his Fuhrerbunker, 30 feet below the Reich Chancellery. Speer sees an opportunity to carry out his plan by pumping gas into the ventilation system, killing everyone inside. But Martin Bormann, who steps up security patrols around the perimeter, thwarts him.
That leaves Gretchen, who has become Hitler’s last food taster. She is required to live in the bunker much of the time. Kurt is also there, as one of the Hitler Youth guards. She has told him of her plan and he is concerned for her life. He begs her not to do it, telling her he loves her and doesn’t want to lose her. The war is almost over, he says, and Hitler will be killed or captured anyway. However, Gretchen is determined. She administers small dosages of poison once a day to Hitler, and he steadily deteriorates both physically and mentally, becoming increasingly unhinged and irrational in the process. Despite purging her body of the poison she ingests, Gretchen’s health also declines. She loses weight and her skin takes on a yellow pallor. Kurt grows desperate to save her. Gretchen tells him that her friend Shona’s father has a clinic in Switzerland. If they can escape there after Hitler dies, they may be able to cure her. But she will not leave until Hitler is dead.
On one of her short excursions from the bunker, she goes to her parents’ home, with Kurt escorting her. They are shocked by her appearance – she is gaunt and pale. Gretchen tells them what she is doing. Like Kurt, they implore her to abandon the idea and save herself but she maintains her determination. She is prepared to die if necessary to rid the world of Hitler. But she tries to mollify her parents by telling them the father of her friend in Switzerland runs a highly respected clinic and she will try to get there for treatment when Hitler is dead.
On April 20, 1945, Hitler celebrates his 56 th birthday by emerging from the bunker to officiate at a ceremony at which Iron Crosses are given to members of the Hitler Youth for their defense of Berlin. Kurt is one of the recipients. He sees that Hitler is disoriented, unsteady and shaking and he knows he does not have long to live.
The Russians are now at the gates of Berlin. Hitler has gone mad from the effects of the poison. He condemns everyone for the failure of the war, orders the summary execution of some of his closest confidantes, and demands that Speer destroy all the remaining industrial plants in Germany.
On April 30, 1945, Hitler dies, along with Eva Braun. The story is put out that he swallowed cyanide and then shot himself while she died by poison. Their bodies were burned so this could not be verified. The reader is left to decide whether they both actually died as a result of Gretchen’s poisoning.
In the chaos of the bunker on that final day, Kurt finds Gretchen, who is very weak, and tells her his uncle, Speer, has arranged passage for them to Switzerland if they can get to Templehof Airport before the Russians take it. He knows of a series of tunnels about a mile away that lead to the airport. Together, they flee the bunker, find the tunnel entrance and make their way through a dimly lit passage where rats scurry away from them. The exit door to the tunnel is partially blocked but Kurt manages to force it open. They run through the almost deserted airport to the tarmac where a twin-engine plane is warming up under a sky lit by exploding shells. Gretchen is staggering, weakened by the poison. Kurt lifts her in his arms and runs towards the plane, where the pilot is frantically beckoning them to hurry. Just as they reach the door, a Russian tank appears at the end of the runway. They tumble on board, the door is slammed behind them, and the pilot revs the engine, heading the plane straight towards the tank, which is trying to maneuver into position for a shot. Just before they collide the plane lifts off, clears the tank by a few feet, and disappears into the night sky.
Tony Aspler is an internationally known wine writer and critic. He has been writing as a columnist for the Toronto Star and for a number of international wine magazines for more than thirty years. Tony is the author/co-author of more than 25 books, including nine novels, three of which were written with Gordon Pape.
He is a member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Royal Bank Business Citizen of the Year Award, and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and is involved in several charities.
Gordon Pape is the author/co-author of more than 50 books, a columnist, and investor. Most of his books focus on personal finance but he has also co-authored three novels with Tony Aspler and three books of Christmas trivia with his daughter, children’s author Deborah Kerbel.
The eccentric eating habits of 9 ruthless dictators
In "Dictators' Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants," Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott offer astonishing insights into dictators' table manners, food vices, and fears of poisonings. They also include recipes for some of the meals.
Business Insider selected several ruthless leaders from the book and highlighted their favorite foods — and some of their horrifying dinnertime eccentricities.
Kim Jong Il loved shark-fin soup and dog-meat soup
Foods of choice: Kim Jong Il's favorite foods were reportedly shark-fin soup, salo, and dog-meat soup, which he believed gave him immunity and virility. He was also said to be Hennessy's biggest customer.
He had a team of women make sure all the rice grains served to him were identical
Kim Jong Il was the supreme leader of North Korea from 1994 to 2011. Under his rule, North Korea's grossly mismanaged economy sagged and its people suffered a famine.
Dinner etiquette: He reportedly had a sizable team of women make sure every single grain of rice that was served to him was identical in size, shape, and color.
Hitler was a vegetarian and by the end of his life ate only mashed potatoes and broth
Foods of choice: Hitler's vegetarianism has been attributed to ideological reasons, but it also may have been motivated by his belief that a meatless diet would relieve his chronic flatulence and constipation. By the end of WWII, Hitler ate only mashed potatoes and clear broth.
He had a team of 15 food tasters. If none of them dropped dead after 45 minutes, then the food would be considered OK to eat
Hitler was the führer of Nazi Germany who forcefully occupied large chunks of Europe and North Africa during WWII. He sought to eliminate Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and others.
Dinner etiquette: Hitler was so paranoid of being poisoned by his food that he had a team of 15 food tasters. Only if none of them dropped dead after 45 minutes would the dictator eat.
Joseph Stalin loved traditional Georgian cuisine
Foods of choice: Stalin was fond of traditional Georgian cuisine, which features walnuts, garlic, plums, pomegranates, and wines.
One of Stalin's personal chefs was Vladimir Putin's grandfather, Spiridon Putin
Joseph Stalin led the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. He forced quick industrialization and collectivization, which coincided with mass starvation, the Gulag labor camps, and the "Great Purge."
Dinner etiquette: He enjoyed power-play drinking games and elaborate six-hour dinners prepared by personal chefs, one of whom was Russian President Vladimir Putin's grandfather, Spiridon Putin.
Benito Mussolini loved garlic and thought French food was "worthless"
Foods of choice: Mussolini loved a simple salad of roughly chopped garlic drenched with oil and fresh lemon juice. He thought French food was "worthless."
Mussolini liked to eat at home with his family. Everyone had to be seated before his arrival
Benito Mussolini founded and led Italy's Fascist Party from the 1920s, consolidating power and creating a totalitarian state. He allied with Hitler during the World War II, but was later removed from power and executed.
Dinner etiquette: Mussolini preferred to eat his meals at home with his wife, Rachele, and their five children. A typical meal in the Mussolini household was punctual, with everyone seated and served at the table before his arrival.
Idi Amin reportedly ate up to 40 oranges a day and enjoyed KFC while in exile in Saudi Arabia
Foods of choice: Idi Amin loved roast goat, cassava, and millet bread. He reportedly ate as many as 40 oranges a day, believing they were "nature's Viagra." Later, when he was living in exile in Saudi Arabia, he reportedly loved to feast on pizza and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
For a while, Amin loved all things British, including afternoon tea
General Idi Amin overthrew an elected government in a military coup and declared himself president. He ruled ruthlessly for eight years, during which an estimated 300,000 civilians were massacred.
Dinner etiquette: For a while, Idi Amin loved all things British and reportedly enjoyed afternoon tea. There were also rumors of Amin being a cannibal.
Pol Pot liked cobra stew
Foods of choice: Pol Pot enjoyed venison, wild boar, snake, fresh fruit, brandy, and Chinese wine. He also reportedly liked cobra stew.
He enjoyed luxurious meals while peasants were allowed only rice soup
Pol Pot and his communist Khmer Rouge movement in Cambodia orchestrated a brutal, anti-intellectual "social engineering program" in which up to 2 million Cambodians were executed or overworked or starved to death.
Dinner etiquette: Pol Pot enjoyed luxurious meals while those suffering under his regime were allowed only water with a sprinkle of rice grains.
Nicolae Ceaușescu liked vegetarian lasagnas and simple salads
Foods of choice: Ceaușescu liked vegetarian lasagna topped off with an egg beaten into sour cream, Romanian-style carp in aspic, and simple tomato, onion, and feta salads with steak.
Ceaușescu would throw the food served to him at formal events onto the floor and kick it as far as possible
Nicolae Ceaușescu was the head of communist Romania from 1965 to 1989. In his repressive state, opposition and free speech were not tolerated. Secret police kept a close watch over internal goings-on.
Dinner etiquette: Ceaușescu notoriously avoided eating food that was not properly screened. He would throw the food served to him at formal events onto the floor and kick it as far as possible.
Francisco Macías Nguema liked tea made out of the female cannabis plant and root bark with hallucinogenic properties
Foods of choice: He liked bhang, a tea made from the leaves of the female cannabis plant, and iboga, a root bark with hallucinogenic properties.
There were rumours Nguema was a cannibal who collected skulls in his fridge.
Francisco Macías Nguema, first president of Equatorial Guinea, killed and drove into exile somewhere between a one-third and two-thirds of his people. Once he had 150 of his opponents killed by troops dressed as Santa Clauses to the accompaniment of "Those Were the Days." The country was nicknamed "The Dachau of Africa" during his reign.
Dinner etiquette: Not much is known. There were, however, rumors he was a cannibal who collected skulls in his refrigerator
Haitian ruler François "Papa Doc" Duvalier's wife had to spoon-feed him by the end of his reign because of his many ailments
Foods of choice: Nothing hearty. He was already diabetic and had heart problems and arthritis by the time he was in power in the late 1950s. By his last year, 1971, his wife had to spoon-feed him.
Duvalier's "idea of after-dinner entertainment involved a descent to a dungeon . to watch through a spy-hole while his enemies were being tortured"
François "Papa Doc" Duvalier was a doctor turned politician, elected on the promise that he would help the country's poor black majority, who had been exploited for years. However, his rule quickly veered south as he installed secret police, and an estimated 30,000 people were shot, imprisoned, or tortured to death.
Dinner etiquette: "His idea of after-dinner entertainment involved a descent to a dungeon whose walls were painted a blood red, to watch through a spy-hole while his enemies were being tortured," according to Clark and Scott.
A lady who worked as Adolf Hitler’s food taster finally revealed the truth about Hitler’s diet and the Nazi Party
Have you ever wondered how does it feel to work as a VVIP’s food taster? Well, just one poisonous bite is all it needs to take your life. Now, Adolf Hitler’s last surviving food taster, Margot Woelk revealed every secret and tale when she worked as a food taster for the infamous dictator in a new German documentary.
Woelk who is now 99 years old was first forced to work for the Nazi leader.
She started working at the age of 25 years old and her task was to taste Hitler’s food to test whether it was safe for him to have them as his meal
Woelk was one of 15 young women who were recruited by S.S. or Schutzstaffel (meaning ‘Protection Squadron’) for the role.
She was reluctant to reveal it all but she eventually told that Hitler was actually a vegetarian.
In addition, he only ate meals which consisted of rice, pasta, beans and cauliflowers
To tell how scared they were all to take the positions, Woelk said that she and other female food tasters used to ‘cry like dogs’. However, they were grateful to survive every meal. For her job, Woelk said that she was forced to taste the meals and waited for an hour after the tasting session. Every time an hour after the tasting session passed and she did not show any food poisoning symptoms, she would cry in pure relief.
“We had to eat it all up. Then we had to wait an hour, and every time we were frightened that we were going to be ill. We use to cry like dogs because we were so glad to have survived,” said Woelk.
Woelk recalled being forced to take the job after fleeing from Berlin. She lived with her in laws after her husband was deployed into army.
Unfortunately, nearby her in laws’ house was Hitler’s military headquarter known as Wolf’s Lair
“The S.S. came for me that day. They told me I would be paid, I think it was around 300 Reichmarks,” she said.
“And that became my job. I felt like a lab rabbit. But if you learned one thing about life in Nazi Germany, it was that you didn’t argue with the S.S”
Even though her job was extremely dangerous, the food that Woelk had to taste was a heaven for her who basically lived on food rations. Her typical food rations were usually coffee made from roasted acorns, sawdust bread and fatty margarine.
Woelk recalled her experience, “The freshest of vegetables, the best fruit. I shoved to the back of my mind that it might be poisoned because it all tasted so nice”
Woelk never met Hitler personally but she did see him walking around sometimes.
All the young female food tasters were closely guarded but that did not stop one of the S.S. officers from raping her.
Fortunately, another S.S. officer saved her when he told her to escape from the military headquarter as German’s Nazi Party was becoming weaker with Red Army coming in. Woelk managed to escape to Berlin by getting on the same train taken by Josef Goebbels, German’s propaganda minister.
However, when the Red Army moved to Berlin, they found her hiding and raped her
Woelk said that she was held for 14 days and nights and was raped countless times during her captive period.
“I tried to say I had TB, that I was infected. It did no good. They held me for 14 days and nights and raped me. After they finished I was never able to conceive. My husband and I wanted children so much…,” said Woelk.
Luckily, she was the only one who survived the war. The other 14 food tasters had been shot to death by Red Army. In 1946, Woelk finally reunited with her husband after he was detained for 2 years. Since their reunion, Woelk lived with her husband for 45 years until he passed away.
Hitler — The Hypochondriac, The Man with Faecal Attraction and The High Junkie on 74-92 Different “Meds”
The troubling film shows a nervy hypochondriac who relied on 74 different kinds of medication at one point of his life
Adolf Hitler was on crystal meth and a drug made from human faeces
Channel 4 documentary shows
By Ben Dowell
Sunday 19 October 2014 at 08:00AM
(Cowardly fuck looks rather cranky, eh? Ugly mofos–Added by blogger)
TV’s fascination with the Nazis shows no sign of abating. And tonight Channel 4 pore over the private records of Adolf Hitler’s personal physician Theodor Morell, a vain, squat, fat and unpleasant quack doctor (pictured above behind the German dictator).
Morell was a fanatical note taker and carefully recorded every detail of Hitler’s physical condition on an almost daily basis (it is thought to protect himself in case his boss happened to die and the dictator’s henchmen wanted a scapegoat).
So what was Hitler’s health like? Bad does not even get close. And there is a ghoulish fascination to be had in being told in the programme that the chief proponent of Aryan supremacy was a profoundly sick man with bad breath, chronic flatulence and stomach cramps who used pills made from the faeces of soldiers to keep him going.
Yes, the chief of a land of supposedly great warriors was a physical wreck and a nervy hypochondriac who relied on 74 different kinds of medication at one point of his life.
More bizarrely, the cocktail of drugs he was on included crystal meth which is thought to have powered his crazed speechifying and once saw him rant, without interruption, at fellow dictator Benito Mussolini for four hours on end. And he was treated with leeches at various points in his life.
It’s a fascinating film showing how the madness of Nazism extended even into the arena of the physical well-being of its figurehead, a man sick in body as well as mind.
The sometimes breathy narration tells us that Morell’s actual journals have “never been seen on British television before” but the juicy information is already there in the history books. But that doesn’t stop this being a well-assembled, diverting and intimate insight into the corporeality of evil. And yes, Morell’s notes testify that Hitler did have two testicles.
Hitler’s Hidden Drug Habit: Secret History is on Channel 4 on Sunday October 19
Adolf Hitler Channel 4 Factual Benito Mussolini Documentary Hitler’s Hidden Drug Habit Theodor Morell TV
Hitler’s Last Food Taster Feared Death with Every Bite
(Reuters) – Margot Woelk spent the last few years of World War Two eating lavish meals and fearing that every mouthful could mean death.
The former food taster for Adolf Hitler was served a plate of food and forced to eat it between 11 and 12 every morning for most of the last 2-1/2 years of the Nazi German leader’s life.
If she did not fall ill, the food was packed into boxes and taken to Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair, a military headquarters located deep in woodland, in what is today northeastern Poland.
“Hitler was a vegetarian so it was all vegetarian fare – it was very good food like white asparagus, wonderful fruits, peppers and cauliflower,” the 96-year-old Berliner told Reuters.
Along with 14 other girls in their 20s, Woelk lived in fear that every meal she ate would be her last.
“We were always terrified that the food might be poisoned as England wanted to poison Hitler and he knew that from his spies so he employed young girls to taste his food,” she said.
“We cried a lot and hugged each other. We asked each other: ‘Will we still be alive tomorrow or not?'”
Woelk, who still has nightmares about her role as a food taster and did not speak about her experiences for decades after the war, said she and her family were against the Nazis and that she landed the job “through a series of coincidences”.
Forced to leave her apartment in Berlin when allied bombing made it uninhabitable, Woelk gave up her secretarial job and moved in with her parents-in-law in the village of Gross-Partsch, then in eastern Germany and now part of Poland.
“The mayor there was a big Nazi and he had connections with the SS (a Nazi paramilitary organization) so I was forced into it right away. I had to work to earn money,” she said.
She said she never saw Hitler, though she did see his dog.
Woelk said she heard the explosion on July 20, 1944 caused by a bomb that army generals had planted at the Wolf’s Lair with the aim of taking Hitler’s life.
At the time Woelk was watching a film with soldiers in a tent not far from the military headquarters.
“We heard this huge bang then we fell off the wooden benches we were sitting on. Someone shouted ‘Hitler is dead’ but we later found out that only his hand was injured.”
After the failed assassination attempt, Woelk said she had to move into supervised accommodation and was held like a prisoner, denied access to a telephone and able to visit her parents-in-law only with SS officers as chaperones.
When Hitler killed himself in April 1945, Woelk fled to Berlin and went into hiding. Soviet forces were closing in on the German capital and Woelk was later pulled out of an air raid shelter and raped by Russian soldiers for a fortnight.
The other 14 food tasters who had stayed behind were all killed, she said.
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.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in 2015. Margot Woelk, Hitler’s last food taster, is still alive as of this reporting, and 101 years old.
Documentary ‘Final Account’ bears sometimes frustrating witness to the crimes of the Third Reich
In 2008, filmmaker Luke Holland started filming interviews with what would turn out to be hundreds of elderly Germans described – perhaps euphemistically in some cases – as “witnesses” to the crimes of the Third Reich.
Among those who appear on camera in “Final Account,” Holland’s last documentary before his death of cancer last year, are ordinary citizens rank-and-file veterans of the armed forces graduates of Nazi youth groups such as the Hitlerjugend and the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) former members of the S.S. and one codger still unnervingly proud to claim long-ago employment among Hitler’s elite squad of personal bodyguards.
Their responses to questions about what they knew, saw or did during the Holocaust range from “Nichts gewusst” (“I had no idea”) to tacit or, in a few cases, explicit, if grudging, admission of complicity. If anyone who lived through those dark times claims not to have known what was going on, says one subject, “they’re lying.”
The bodyguard, a former member of Hitler’s elite Leibstandarte, denies nothing and says he regrets nothing – except, of course the deaths of millions. Hitler had the right idea, he explains, but the Final Solution went too far. German Jews should have been persuaded to leave the country peacefully, relocating to somewhere they could rule themselves.
Such willful blindness is astonishing – and the opposite of illuminating. “Final Account” aims to provide insight into the psychological mechanism that would allow otherwise good people to stand idly by (or actively participate in) the perpetration of mass murder. As such, it’s only partly effective – and frustrating.
Fear is certainly one powerful motivator, cited by several subjects. One woman speaks of the whispered rumor that anyone who dared to speak up would have ended up in a camp herself. A former soldier justifies the oft-cited explanation, “I was only following orders” by saying he surely would have been shot if he had refused to assist in extermination.
Even some Jews participated, it is noted, as a form of self-preservation. One former resident of a village near a work camp recalls that her dentist – and other doctors treating her neighbors – were camp detainees. They were all quite pleasant, she notes, with a cheerful tone that lends a touch of grotesque surreality to a film that is already something of an exercise in moral and ethical head-scratching.
Extreme youth is another frequent excuse: Many of the film’s subjects were quite young during Hitler’s rise to power. “When you’re caught up in it, you keep your mouth shut, at 16,” explains one. “I’m sorry, but that’s the truth.”
There might be something to that, Holland’s film suggests. Hans Werk – a veteran of the Waffen S.S. – was only 8 years old at the 1935 introduction of the Nuremberg race laws. As a child, he says, he was more susceptible to the influence of his pro-Nazi teacher than that of his father. More than anyone else in the film, Werk manifests a deep and seemingly sincere sense of remorse about his wartime actions.
That leads him, late in the film, to address a group of nationalist, anti-immigrant German teens who mostly sit in stony silence as he tells them, “Don’t let yourself be blinded.” (Ironically, the meeting takes place in the Wannsee villa where Hitler’s plan for the Final Solution was hammered out.)
This frightening confrontation between a country’s dark past and its uneasy future hints that, despite “Final Account’s” conclusive-sounding title, this is a story that’s not quite over yet.
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Hitler bodyguard, witness to Nazi leader's final hours, dies
Rochus Misch, who served as Adolf Hitler's devoted bodyguard for most of the Second World War and was the last remaining witness to the Nazi leader's final hours in his Berlin bunker, has died. He was 96.
Misch died Thursday in Berlin after a short illness, Burkhard Nachtigall, who helped him write his 2008 memoir, told The Associated Press in an email on Friday.
Misch remained proud to the end about his years with Hitler, whom he affectionately called "boss." In a 2005 interview with The Associated Press, Misch recalled Hitler as "a very normal man" and gave a riveting account of the German dictator's last days before he and his wife Eva Braun killed themselves as the Soviet Red Army closed in around their bunker in Berlin.
"He was no brute. He was no monster. He was no superman," Misch said.
Born July 29, 1917, in the tiny Silesian town of Alt Schalkowitz, in what today is Poland, Misch was orphaned at an early age. At age 20, he decided to join the SS — an organization that he saw as a counterweight to a rising threat from the left. He signed up for the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, a unit that was founded to serve as Hitler's personal protection.
"It was anti-communist, against Stalin — to protect Europe," Misch said. "I signed up in the war against Bolshevism, not for Adolf Hitler."
But when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Misch found himself in the vanguard, as his SS division was attached to a regular army unit for the blitzkrieg attack.
Misch was shot and nearly killed while trying to negotiate the surrender of a fortress near Warsaw, and he was sent to Germany to recover. There, he was chosen in May 1940 as one of two SS men who would serve as Hitler's bodyguards and general assistants, doing everything from answering the telephones to greeting dignitaries.
Misch and comrade Johannes Hentschel accompanied Hitler almost everywhere he went — including his Alpine retreat in Berchtesgaden and his forward "Wolf's Lair" headquarters.
He lived between the Fuehrer's apartments in the New Reich Chancellery and the home in a working-class Berlin neighbourhood that he kept until his death.
'He was a wonderful boss'
"He was a wonderful boss," Misch said. "I lived with him for five years. We were the closest people who worked with him . we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night."
In the last days of Hitler's life, Misch followed him to live underground, protected by the so-called Fuehrerbunker's heavily reinforced concrete ceilings and walls.
"Hentschel ran the lights, air and water and I did the telephones — there was nobody else," he said. "When someone would come downstairs we couldn't even offer them a place to sit. It was far too small."
After the Soviet assault began, Misch remembered generals and Nazi brass coming and going as they tried desperately to cobble together a defence of the capital with the ragtag remains of the German military.
He recalled that on April 22, two days before two Soviet armies completed their encirclement of the city, Hitler said: "That's it. The war is lost. Everybody can go."
"Everyone except those who still had jobs to do like us — we had to stay," Misch said. "The lights, water, telephone . those had to be kept going but everybody else was allowed to go and almost all were gone immediately."
However, Hitler clung to a report — false, as it turned out — that the Western Allies had called upon Germany to hold Berlin for two more weeks against the Soviets so that they could battle communism together.
"He still believed in a union between West and East," Misch said. "Hitler liked England — except for (then-Prime Minister Winston) Churchill — and didn't think that a people like the English would bind themselves with the communists to crush Germany."
On April 28, Misch saw Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Hitler confidant Martin Bormann enter the bunker with a man he had never seen before.
"I asked who it was and they said that's the civil magistrate who has come to perform Hitler's marriage," Misch said. That night, Hitler and longtime mistress Eva Braun were married in a short ceremony.
Two days later, Misch saw Goebbels and Bormann talking with Hitler and his adjutant, SS Maj. Otto Guensche, in the bunker's corridor.
"I saw him go into his room . and someone, Guensche, said that he shouldn't be disturbed," Misch said. "We all knew that it was happening. He said he wasn't going to leave Berlin, he would stay here."
"We heard no shot, we heard nothing, but one of those who was in the hallway, I don't remember if it was Guensche or Bormann, said, 'Linge, Linge, I think it's done,"' Misch said, referring to Hitler's valet Heinz Linge.
"Then everything was really quiet . who opened the door I don't remember, Guensche or Linge. They opened the door, and I naturally looked, and then there was a short pause and the second door was opened. and I saw Hitler lying on the table like so," Misch said, putting his head down on his hands on his living-room table.
"And Eva lay like so on the sofa with knees up, her head to him."
Misch ran up to the chancellery to tell his superior the news and then back downstairs, where Hitler's corpse had been put on the floor with a blanket over it.
"Then they bundled Hitler up and said 'What do we do now?"' Misch said. "As they took Hitler out . they walked by me about three or four metres away. I saw his shoes sticking outside the sack."
An SS guard ran down the stairs and tried to get Misch to watch as the two were covered in gasoline and set alight.
"He said, 'The boss is being burned. Come on out,"' Misch recalled. But instead Misch hastily retreated deeper into the bunker to talk with comrade Hentschel.
"I said 'I saw the Gestapo upstairs in the . chancellery, and it could be that they'll want to kill us as witnesses,"' Misch said.
But Misch stuck to his post in the bunker — which he described as "a coffin of concrete" — taking and directing telephone calls with Goebbels as his new boss until May 2, when he was given permission to flee.
Goebbels, he said, "came down and said: 'You have a chance to live. You don't have to stay here and die."'
Misch grabbed the rucksack he had packed and fled with a few others into the rubble of Berlin.
Working his way through cellars and subways, Misch decided to surface after hearing German being spoken above through an air ventilation shaft. But the voices came from about 300 soldiers who had been taken prisoner, and the Soviet guards grabbed him as well.
Spent 9 years in POW camp
Following the German surrender May 7, Misch was taken to the Soviet Union, where he spent the next nine years in prisoner of war camps before being allowed to return to Berlin in 1954.
He reunited with his wife Gerda, whom he had married in 1942 and who died in 1997, and opened up a shop.
At age 87, when he talked with the AP, Misch still cut the image of an SS man, with a rigid posture, broad shoulders and neatly combed white hair.
He stayed away from questions of guilt or responsibility for the Holocaust, saying he knew nothing of the murder of six million Jews and that Hitler never brought up the Final Solution in his presence.
"That was never a topic," he said emphatically. "Never."