Brunhilde Pomsel, the personal secretary to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, has passed away at 106. Pomsel’s passing was confirmed Sunday by Christian Kroenes, a co-director of the 2016 documentary “A German Life,” in which Pomsel shared her memories of working for one of the architects of Hitler’s Final Solution.
“We met Mrs. Pomsel by chance, while researching a different story,” Kroenes said in a July 2016 interview with the Deutsche Welle. “We hadn’t expected to meet a living legend, but decided to try it out. She was 101 years old when we started filming. We knew we didn’t have much time left, but we really wanted to make this film.”
Kroenes said in the interview that he believes Pomsel, who served as Goebbel’s secretary from 1942-45, stood for the millions of blind followers of the Nazi regime.
“That’s probably the aspect that makes this historic film, this historic document, so interesting to the present,” he said. “The film describes a functioning society that goes to pieces: world economic crisis, unemployment, the rise of the Nazis. Less than a decade later, it all leads to the biggest disaster in the history of mankind.”
Kroenes said the world today is in a similar dilemma.
“We’ve overcome an economic crisis and we’re being swamped by a wave of refugees,” he said. “Far right parties across Europe are on the rise. The problematic situation is that this time, it’s not just one country that’s affected – like Germany back then -, but the entire European continent that’s drifting to the right.”
In the documentary, Pomsel shared her recollection of Goebbels as “a big pig” and a “ranting dwarf.” She also described the Nazi propaganda minister as a “narcissist,” “aloof,” and “cold” but still an inveterate womanizer and not without charm.
“I’ve personally done nothing evil, but I blame myself for being, at that time, too uninterested in politics,” Pomsel said, according to Daily Mail.
“I was grown up enough to recognize how the guilty criminals lied. That was very, very stupid of me.”
Still, Pomsel said, “when the Propaganda Ministry recruited me to work for Goebbels I couldn’t say no. It was an obligation, a mandatory duty. I really loved the job, loved working with other pleasant, carefully selected women. I was swimming in money. Only trouble was, there was nothing to buy.”
In a 2011 interview with Der Bild, Pomsel recalled Goebbels as a largely unapproachable figure.
“He never once asked me a personal question,” she said. “Right up until the end I don’t think he knew my name.”
Regarding Goebbels’s crimes, Pomsel said she would “never forgive [him] for what he did to the world or for the fact that he murdered his innocent children.”