Still haunted ... One of the food testers of Adolf Hitler, Margot Woelk, finally reveals her past. Photo: AP
Margot Woelk lived in fear of vegetables for a long time.
As one of the 15 women charged with tasting Adolf Hitler's food during World War II, the now-95-year-old faced the possibility that any of the delicious vegetarian meals she ate could have been her last. (There's some fun trivia for you: Hitler was a vegetarian.)
I found out that the Russians shot all of the 14 other girls.
Ashamed, she kept the secret of her wartime role for decades, including from her husband, who passed away 23 years ago. However, just a few months after her 95th birthday, Woelk has decided to share her memories of Hitler's secret Wolf's Lair with the world.
Pre-tested ... Adolf Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun dining. Photo: AP
"The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta," Woelk told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview.
"But 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."
Woelk got involved as the Fuhrer's food taster and kitchen bookkeeper after fleeing war-torn Berlin for Rastenburg, the site of Hitler's secret compound that was then in Germany and now is part of Poland.
Memories ... Woelk shows an old photo album with a picture of herself taken around 1939 or 1940. Photo: AP
And no, she never saw the man himself: only his German shepherd Blondie and his SS guards, who would often chat with the women.
As the war took a turn for the worse and the Soviets encroached, one of her SS friends urged her to leave the Wolf's Lair. After two-and-a-half years tasting Hitler's meals, she fled back to Berlin and hid.
"Later, I found out that the Russians shot all of the 14 other girls," she said.
That was in January 1945, and though she escaped with her life, she did not escape the Russians, who tracked her down in the destroyed city and raped her for two weeks straight.
"For decades, I tried to shake off those memories," Woelk said of her decision to finally speak out.
"But they always came back to haunt me at night."