Brunhilde Pomsel: What it was like working for Nazi Joseph Goebbels

Brunhilde Pomsel, former secretary to Joseph Goebbels and star of new documentary film A German Life. Photo / Blackbox Film
Brunhilde Pomsel, former secretary to Joseph Goebbels and star of new documentary film A German Life. Photo / Blackbox Film

Brunhilde Pomsel says working as secretary to Joseph Goebbels was "just another job", and that those who say they would have stood up to the Nazis in her shoes are probably mistaken.

Ms Pomsel is, at 105, one of the few surviving people who regularly interacted with the Nazi inner circle during the Second World War.

She was in the bunker where Goebbels and Adolf Hitler committed suicide at the end of the war, making sure there was sufficient alcohol on hand to "retain the numbness".

In the three years prior, Ms Pomsel had sat just outside of Goebbels's personal office each day, asking him questions when necessary and keeping track of his phone calls.

But she says she was unaware of the mass atrocities being carried out by the regime she served.

"I know no one ever believes us nowadays - everyone thinks we knew everything. We knew nothing, it was all kept well secret," she told the Guardian in a new interview ahead of the release of a film about her life.

Ms Pomsel is unapologetic even as she recalls her work manipulating data about war time casualties and otherwise keeping the wheels spinning in the German propaganda machine.

"It is important for me, when I watch the film, to recognise that mirror image in which I can understand everything I've done wrong," she says of A German Life, the upcoming documentary. "But really, I didn't do anything other than type in Goebbels' office."

She was thrilled to take the job, she says, noting the generous salary and describing the beautiful surroundings at the propaganda ministry.

But she says she was unaware of the mass atrocities being carried out by the regime she served.

"I know no one ever believes us nowadays - everyone thinks we knew everything. We knew nothing, it was all kept well secret," she told the Guardian in a new interview ahead of the release of a film about her life.

Ms Pomsel is unapologetic even as she recalls her work manipulating data about war time casualties and otherwise keeping the wheels spinning in the German propaganda machine.

"It is important for me, when I watch the film, to recognise that mirror image in which I can understand everything I've done wrong," she says of A German Life, the upcoming documentary.

"But really, I didn't do anything other than type in Goebbels' office."

She was thrilled to take the job, she says, noting the generous salary and describing the beautiful surroundings at the propaganda ministry.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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