Everyone has secrets. Some have more than others. And Brunhilde Pomsel’s secret was a doozy. It wasn’t until she was 103 years old and almost blind that her past finally caught up with her. From 1942 to 1945 she was the private secretary for Nazi propaganda master Joseph Goebbels. Of course, she knew nothing about the Holocaust–or as she called it, “the matter of the Jews.” (According to the Nazis of the day, hardly any of them knew anything about it.)
So what did Brunhilde do for her vicious, anti-Semitic boss? She wrote reports that understated Nazi casualties and exaggerated the rapes of German women by solders in the Red Army.
In the final days of the war, Brunhilde hid in the basement of the propaganda ministry with other government folks. The day after she learned Adolf Hitler had killed himself, her boss Goebbels and his wife poisoned their six children with cyanide, then killed themselves. Brunhilde helped sew white food sacks together to make a white surrender flag. She spent the next five years imprisoned by the Soviets.
When people insisted to her that they would never have cooperated with the Nazis, as politely as possible she would answer, “I believe you are sincere. But you probably would have.”
Thank you, Brunhilde, for causing me to think. And consider. And prepare to take a stand of my own.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead ~