Ex-secretary of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels dead

Berlin, Jan 30 (IANS) Brunhilde Pomsel, the former secretary to Nazi Germany’s propaganda boss Joseph Goebbels, has died aged 106.

Her job brought her into close contact with Goebbels — one of the worst war criminals of the 20th century, the BBC reported on Monday.

She began working for Goebbels in 1942 as he stepped up his propaganda campaign against Jews, desensitising Germans at the height of the Holocaust.

Pomsel was one of the last surviving members of staff from the Nazi hierarchy, who only spoke about her experience later in life.

She died in her sleep in Munich on Friday and her death was confirmed on Saturday by Christian Kroenes, the director and producer of a documentary about her, A German Life.

In the 2016 documentary, she said she had known nothing of the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust and that she felt no guilt — “unless you end up blaming the entire German population”.

Born in January 1911, Pomsel worked as a writer for a Jewish insurance broker for a number of years during her late teenage years, before taking a similar job with a right-wing writer.

Although she claimed that she had always been apolitical, she joined the Nazi party when they took power in 1933, in order to take a government job with German national radio, reported the BBC.

She described Goebbels as “a good looking man… a bit short”, who was always well-groomed and well-dressed but arrogant.

Pomsel said she was simply a secretary and knew little of the Nazi’s brutal actions during the Holocaust.

“The people who today say they would have done more for those poor, persecuted Jews…I really believe that they sincerely mean it,” she said in interviews for her documentary. “But they wouldn’t have done it either.”

But Pomsel always maintained that she did not share in the blame for the actions of her superiors.

“I wouldn’t see myself as being guilty,” she said. “Unless you end up blaming the entire German population for ultimately enabling that government to take control. That was all of us. Including me.”

Pomsel was captured by Soviet troops at the end of World War II — and spent the following five years in detention camps, before rejoining German broadcasting in 1950, where she worked for the next 20 years.

She would not speak openly about her time serving the senior Nazi official until a 2011 newspaper interview, and more extensively in the 2016 documentary.

She died in Munich a few weeks after her 106th birthday.

–IANS

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