Joseph Goebells' former secretary dies

Brunhilde Pomsel claimed she did not know about the Holocaust

Joseph Goebells' former secretary dies

Image: YouTube

The former secretary of Nazi Germany's propaganda boss Joseph Goebbels has died at the age of 106.

Brunhilde Pomsel, who worked for Goebbels between 1942 and 1945, died in her sleep at her home in Munich on Friday.

Her death was confirmed by Christian Kroenes, who co-directed a film about her last year called A German Life.

Despite working near the top of the Nazi hierarchy, Ms Pomsel claimed she did not know about the Holocaust, saying in the film: "We knew nothing."

She also said she felt no guilt: "Nothing's black and white. There's always a bit of grey in everything.

"I wouldn't see myself as guilty, unless you end up blaming the entire German population."

And she described living in Adolf Hitler's totalitarian state as like being "trapped in a vast concentration camp".

Speaking to the AFP news agency last year, she said she appeared in the documentary because "since I have a clear conscience for myself, I do not see why I should not talk about it".

She described Goebbels - one of the worst war criminals of the 20th century - as polite and well groomed.

But she said that during speeches he turned into a "raging dwarf ... unrecognisable".

He was also "a very cold person", with no interest in the lives of his staff, she said.

Background

Ms Pomsel was born in Berlin in 1911. After working as a stenographer for a Jewish lawyer, she joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and got a job as a secretary with the state broadcaster, before moving to Goebbels' Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

After the war ended, Ms Pomsel was sentenced to five years in Russian prison camps in and around Berlin.

In 2005, Ms Pomsel went to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, where she learned that a Jewish school friend, Eva Loewenthal, had been sent to Auschwitz in November 1943, and declared dead in 1945.

Ms Pomsel lived most of her life in relative obscurity until a newspaper interviewed her in 2011, prompting renewed interest in someone so close to the Nazi regime's inner circle.

She said the purpose of appearing in the documentary last year was "for future generations to be informed about all these things".

She added: "There are ever fewer eyewitnesses left. So I agreed."