Photo Gallery The Woman Who Tasted Hitler's Food for Poison

Each meal could have been her last, but Adolf Hitler's food taster Margot Wölk lived to tell her story. Forced to test the Nazi leader's meals for more than two years, the 95-year-old tells SPIEGEL ONLINE that she lived in constant fear.
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In the lower photo, Margot Wölk is pictured with her husband Karl, who she married quickly in 1939 before he was deployed with the Wehrmacht. They didn't see each other again until 1946 when he returned from being a prisoner of war.

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Wölk, who is 95 today, is only now speaking about her experiences as one of Hitler's food tasters.

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Because Hitler feared being poisoned by the Allies, he had his food tasted by 15 young women at his Eastern Front headquarters, known as the Wolf's Lair. All of them were under the age of 30. Here, another photograph of Wölk.

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The 24-year-old secretary had fled from her parents' bombed-out Berlin apartment in the winter of 1941, traveling to her mother-in-law's home in the East Prussian village of Gross-Partsch, now Parcz, Poland, less than three kilometers away was the location that Hitler had chosen for his Eastern Front headquarters -- the Wolf's Lair. Soon, the SS informed her that she would become a food taster for Hitler. Here, Hitler meets with military leaders in Belgium in 1940.

Foto: Hulton Archive/ Getty Images
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Hitler's thugs brought her and the other young women to 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."

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Here, Wölk is shown in the garden at her mother-in-law's home during the war.

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But the quiet moment is deceiving. She was forced to work at Hitler's nearby Eastern Front headquarters, the Wolf's Lair, and feared for her life.

Foto: Margot Wölk / SPIEGEL ONLINE
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Wölk, now 95, sits in her Schmargendorf apartment -- the same one where she was born. While she has many painful memories of the war and its aftermath, she says she never lost her humor.

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It wasn't until this winter, when a local journalist paid her a visit for her 95th birthday and began asking questions, that she spoke about what she calls the worst years of her life. At that moment, she suddenly decided to break her silence. "I just wanted to say what happened there," she says. "That Hitler was a really repugnant man. And a pig."