For years, vegetarians have dismissed claims that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian, saying the story was just an urban legend that had gained steam throughout the years.
However, there is now definitive proof that Hitler followed a veg diet — at least for a few years.
The evidence comes in the form of testimony from 95-year-old Margot Woelk, who was forced to work — along with a dozen other women — as Hitler’s food taster for two years. She is the only remaining survivor of the team, and according to her, the most notorious and hated man in modern history eschewed meat.
Speaking about her experience for the first time, Woelk said she was taken to Hitler’s headquarters (known as the Wolf’s Lair) after being evacuated from a bombing in her village in what is now Poland in 1942. The SS picked her up as she was fleeing, and forced her into service.
She was required to report to work every day, and along with the other women, had to try the Fuhrer’s meals.
“Between 11 and 12 o’clock, we had to taste the food, and only after all 15 of us had tried it was it was driven to the headquarters by the SS,” she said. “Of course I was afraid. If it had been poisoned I would not be here today. We were forced to eat it, we had no choice.”
Not only that, but as far as she remembers, that food was strictly meat and fish-free.
“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. There was no meat and I do not remember any fish.
The Daily Mail reports that Hitler waited an hour after the tasters tried his meal before eating, so he could observe the effects of the food on the women. Fortunately for the taste-testers, there was never any attempt to poison Hitler through his food.
After Hitler abandoned the Wolf’s Lair in 1944, the women were relieved of their duty. However, there was only one survivor. Woelk escaped by train and was eventually reunited with her husband, but she believes the other women were shot by advancing Russians.
Despite his food preferences during the war, it seems that Hitler was not always a vegetarian, as one of his former cooks once described his love for pigeon. And, not surprisingly, it doesn’t seem that he made the swap for ethical reasons. Instead, his conversion to the veg diet seems to be related to his obsession with Aryan purity. Nazi propaganda promoted soy beans as a meat alternative, referring to them as Nazi-beans, and the Telegraph reports that Hitler planned to convert all of Germany to a meat-free diet after the war. He even went so far as to call meat broth “corpse tea.”
So why did Woelk wait so long to tell this fascinating story? Evidently the memories were simply too painful, and she refused to discuss them for years. However, Digital Journal says that she was recently persuaded by friends to reveal the truth about Hitler’s habits.