Hitler's last surviving food taster, now aged 96, has told a Berlin TV channel about how she would burst into tears after each meal – so grateful was she to still be alive.
Interviewed in the same Berlin apartment in which she was born in 1917, Margo Woelk also told of how she survived the Russian occupation of Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia – only to be subsequently raped for 14 days by Russian soldiers in Berlin.
Woelk was one of 15 young women employed to taste the Nazi leader's food to ensure it had not been poisoned, according to the Mail Online.
"The food was always vegetarian,” she told Berlin’s RBB television channel last Tuesday during a program about her experiences. “There were constant rumors that the British were out to poison Hitler. He never ate meat. We were given rice, noodles, peppers, peas and cauliflower,” she recalled.
The girls were compelled to eat all the food and then wait half-an-hour to see if they fell ill, Woelk said. Some cried out of fear while eating and then again when their wait was up "because we were so glad to have survived.”
Woelk became a food-taster after taking refuge at her mother's home in the east Prussian town of Partsch, which was very close to Hitler's forward headquarters, known as the Wolf's Lair. She had been bombed out of her Berlin apartment in 1941, shortly after her husband Karl was drafted into the army, and was forced by the mayor of the town to take-up the job.
She was picked up by a guard each day and driven to a school building to test Hitler's food. "The security was so tight that I never saw Hitler in person. I only saw his Alsatian dog, Blondi,” Woelk recalled. She was, however, raped by a an SS officer one night.
Hitler’s fears for his life were not unfounded. On July 20, 1944, a group of German army officers attempted to assassinate the Nazi leader by detonating a bomb in the Wolf’s Lair.
“We were sitting on wooden benches, and suddenly we heard and felt this incredible big bang," Woelk said. 'We fell off the benches and I heard someone shouting, 'Hitler is dead!' But of course he wasn’t."
Woelk managed to flee east Prussia ahead of the advancing Russians in 1944. But the horrors had not yet ended. When Berlin capitulated to the Russian army in 1945, she said, "we tried to dress up as old women, but the Russians came for me and the other girls all the same."
"They cut open our dresses and dragged us into a doctor’s flat. We were held there and raped for 14 days. It was hell on earth. The nightmare never goes away."
Woelk was left unable to bear children. Her husband appeared at her doorstep in 1946, after being freed from a Russian prison camp, weighing just 45 kilograms and barely recognizable. Ms Woelk too struggled with nightmares and the pair later separated.
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