Brunhilde Pomsel says she has a clear conscience. The former secretary to Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels has broken her silence so others can understand “I didn’t do anything other than type in Goebbels’ office,” she says.
Pomsel, who is now 105, is the subject of a new documentary A German Life and sat for an interview with The Guardian in which she opened up about her job more than 70 years ago as a typist and secretary at the heart of the Nazi operation.
She says now she did not know details about the Holocaust or other terror initiatives of the Nazi state, though she did have tasks like exaggerating the number of rapes of German women by Russian soldiers. Pomsel said it was “just another job.”
While she does not entirely dismiss those who say they would have resisted the Nazis today, she said it is easy to forget what Germany was like when Hitler surged to power. “I could open myself up to the accusations that I wasn’t interested in politics but the truth is, the idealism of youth might easily have led to you having your neck broken,” she told The Guardian.
She was captured by the Russians and spent five years in incarceration. She said she learned of the Holocaust after leaving the Russian camps. She returned to work as a secretary and eventually retired in 1971.