She kept a promise of silence and secrecy for 66 years. A promise made to one of the vilest leaders of Nazi Germany.
Now Brunhilde Pomsel, 100 years old, is talking about her time as secretary to Joseph Goebbels, propaganda chief for Adolph Hitler, a man who railed against Jews and once wrote, “Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time. What one calls a genius.”
All these years later, his secretary calls him something else.
“I will never forgive Goebbels for what he brought into this world,” Pomsel tells Bild, Germany’s most widely-read paper. “And the fact that he could murder his innocent children in this way.”
She worked for Goebbels from 1942 until May 1, 1945 — a week before V-E Day — when he killed himself in Berlin.
“He got away lightly with suicide,” she says. “He knew he would be condemned to death by the Allies. His suicide was cowardly, but he was also smart because he knew what was coming if he didn’t take that way out.”
Countless books have been written about Goebbels and his role in the war, but none had the benefit of a conversation with Pomsel, whose job was to take down Goebbels’ every word — “The Jews must get out of Germany, indeed out of Europe altogether”, “The Jews ought to please observe the laws of hospitality and not behave as if they were the same as us,” and so on.
Pomsel tells Bild she was asked to work for Goebbels because she was a fast typist. “It was an order to be transferred to work for him. You couldn’t refuse.”
And while Pomsel kept notes on all her boss’ hate-mongering, she also claims — in colorful language — to have never known about the horrors that were underway. “I didn’t know about the Holocaust. I was a stupid, politically uninterested little sausage of simple means. I only learned about the Jewish extermination program after the war.”
Pomsel recalls eating goose with Goebbels at his home outside Berlin, and receiving dresses from his wife Magda after her own home was destroyed in an allied bombardment. But “you couldn’t get close to him,” she says. “He never once asked me a personal question. Right up until the end I don’t think he knew my name.”
Andrew Roberts notes that Goebbels was the exception - that most Nazi leaders were very kind to their employees as they carried out the most horrific crimes known to man.