The diet of Adolf Hitler, one of 20th century's most notorious figures, has long been a bit of a question mark among historians. While there's no disputing the Führer's preference for vegetables, the vegetarian label has always been inconclusive, with some even claiming such stories surrounding Hitler's animal-free diet were nothing but propaganda. 

Now, more than 65 years after his death, new information regarding Hitler's personal life has come to light courtesy of the last surviving food taster employed by the Third Reich. Encouraged by friends and family to tell her tale, 95-year-old Margot Woelk says that, for at least 2 1/2 years, the Nazi leader was a vegetarian. 

"They told me, we have to taste the food that Hitler is served," the Berlin native told The Times. "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."

Woelk, along with several other women, was taken to Hitler’s headquarters (known as the Wolf’s Lair) in a heavily wooded region in Poland. After sampling the food — all meat-free — Woelk and her 15 co-workers were all monitored for deleterious effects. 

"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," she said. "It was quite delicious — the best vegetables and cut fruit. There was no meat and I do not remember any fish. Drinks were delivered somewhere else — the SS took them, we did not have to try drinks."

Woelk's account builds upon a 1938 Homes and Gardens feature on the Führer which noted his substantial kitchen gardens and "imposing array of vegetarian dishes, savoury and rich, pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate."

With the Russians closing in on the Wolf's Lair in early 1945, Woelk said she was saved by the kindness of a German soldier who placed her on one of the last trains back to Berlin. "He saved my life," she said. "My mother-in-law told me that the other girls were all shot by the Russians."

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Hitler was a vegetarian, says former food taster
95-year-old Margot Woelk says she was forced to try all of the Führer's food for more than two years.