One of Adolf Hitler’s food testers revealed the truth of her wartime role after more than half a century of secrets. Margo Woelk, then in her mid-twenties, spent two and a half years as one of 15 women who sampled the Nazi leader’s food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.
Woelk finally revealed the secret a few months after her 95th birthday. Despite the fear she felt whenever she ate, sampling Hitler’s food did have its advantages. The former food taster recalled:
“The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta.”
But the fear she lived with never allowed her to enjoy her role of sampling the feared leader’s food before it was served to him in his “Wolf’s Lair.” The building was the heavily guarded command center where he spent much of his time in the last years of World War II. Woelk explained:
“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 … But this constant fear — we knew all of those poisoning rumors and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal.”
Margo Woelk kept her secret hidden from the world, including her husband. Along with her fear and shame of working for the Nazis during World War II, Woelke also kept her secret as Hitler’s food taster hidden out of fear that she would be prosecuted for having worked with them.
She insisted, however, that she was never a party member. So, how did Woelk become one of the Nazi leader’s food testers? She explained the association began when she fled Berlin to escape Allied air raids. Her husband was serving in the German army, so she moved in with relatives in what later became Poland.
She was drafted into civilian service and was assigned as a good taster and kitchen bookkeeper at the Wolf’s Lair complex, located a few miles outside the town she lived in. After two and a half years, a SS friend advised her to leave, because the war was going badly.
Woelk took her friend’s advice and went into hiding in Berlin. She later learned that the remaining 14 women were killed by the Russians, who overran the Nazi headquarters in January 1945.