Margot Woelk was one of fourteen young women who served as food tasters for Adolph Hitler, a vegetarian who was paranoid about being poisoned. She is now ninety-five years old and lives in Berlin.


Margot and the other girls

ate well for three years during

the war in Germany.

True, the meals were all vegetables,

but they were prepared by an exclusive chef

with the finest fresh asparagus, bell peppers and sauces

served with a side of pasta or rice

and apple strudel for dessert.

There were eggs for breakfast,

toast with marmalade and oatmeal.

Margot ate in the kitchen of the command center

called the Wolf’s Lair, and was told

she was a lucky girl because

she was helping the fatherland.

Besides, not many people could say

they sampled the food

even before The Fuehrer himself.


Seventy years later, the thin

old woman still complains.

Her torment is not about her harrowing

escape from the command center

as the war wound down to an end,

or being raped by Russian officers

during the invasion of Berlin.

Only close friends are aware

that she still does not relish mealtimes.

Guests do not find it odd that she toys

with her food and prefers conversation to eating.

And no one notices that her fork always pauses briefly

in its arc from the plate to her mouth.

William Ogden Haynes is a poet and author of short fiction from Alabama who was born in Michigan and grew up a military brat. His first book of poetry entitled Points of Interest appeared in 2012 and a second collection of poetry and short stories Uncommon Pursuits was published in 2013. Both are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. He has also published over seventy poems and short stories in literary journals and his work has been anthologized multiple times.

I read the true story of Margot Woelk in a news article, and as often happens, it inspired me to write a poem.  I can't imagine eating every meal and never knowing if it would be my last.  At ninety five, Margot still lives in the same apartment where she was born in Berlin.  Her story is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit and a reminder of the evil perpetrated by the Third Reich.




Copyright 2009