As we approach the season’s World War II anniversaries and remembrances, we’re still learning more from the strange marginalia of that era’s historical pages. One example is the story of Margot Wölk, one of Adolf Hitler’s last surviving food tasters, who recently spoke about her experiences.
Wölk may have eaten well during the war, but only because she was being fed food meant for Hitler that many thought could be poisoned.
Hitler’s thugs brought her and the other young women to barracks in nearby Krausendorf, where cooks prepared the food for the Wolf’s Lair in a two-story building. The service personnel filled platters with vegetables, sauces, noodle dishes and exotic fruits, placing them in a room with a large wooden table, where the food had to be tasted. “There was never meat because Hitler was a vegetarian,” Wölk recalls. “The food was good — very good. But we couldn’t enjoy it.”
This may be the least harrowing part of a story that also included her narrow escape as the Soviet Army invaded the Wolf’s Lair, her violation by both Nazi and Soviet soldiers, and her presumed dead husband, who eventually came back.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.