Woman who tasted Hitler’s food for poison – and survived!
by Evans Chukwurah
For over two years Margot Woelk did not eat for pleasure, but as a job. She was in the payroll of Adolph Hitler testing his food for poison.
“I had to test his food for poison. 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 was drafted for the civilian service by the S.S. after a failed assassination attempt on Hitler. She was forced to live in an abandon school house, along with other women. It was closed to Hitler’s Wolf Lair. Speaking in a documentary on German television called Hitler’s Food Taster, the 96-year-old told how she landed this grisly job in 1942: “The S.S. came for me that day. They told me I would be paid, I think it was around 300 Reichmarks. We boarded a bus with these S.S. thugs on board and drove to house 11 kms away and there were 14 other young women around my age there, all from the locality, all Germans.”
Describing how she carried out this grisly task, she said: “We all sat, all of us girls, around a big table and we each received a plateful of what was being served that day. Between 11 and 12 o’clock, we had to taste the food before it is served. It wasn’t like we were given a spoonful or a forkful. I felt like a lab rabbit. And this was my life, five days a week.”
After all 15 women had tasted the food, the S.S. commander would wait for an hour to give any poison time to run its course before they gave “instructions for the food to be boxed up and driven over to the compound inside the Wolf’s Lair” to be served to the German dictator.
Recalled Woelk: “Well, the food was simply wonderful. It was all vegetarian, the most delicious fresh things, from asparagus to peppers and peas, served with rice, and salads. It was all arranged on one plate, just as it was served to him. But there was this constant fear – we knew of all those poisoning rumours and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal.”
For the over two years that Woelk was in Hitler’s payroll as his food taster, she never got to meet him, even though the abandoned school house where she lived with other women was closed to Hitler’s Wolf Lair. She was only seeing him from a far distance, she said: “I never actually got to meet Hitler but I saw him in the field near the house where he played with Blondi, his Alsatian dog.”
Woelk is the only taster to survive the war. When Hitler abandoned the lair after 800 days in November 1944, a senior officer helped her to escape back to Berlin by smuggling her on board Joseph Goebbel’s train. She believed the other tasters were shot by the advancing Russians.