Brunhilde Pomsel, 106; Goebbels’ secretary
Brunhilde Pomsel, a secretary to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels who late in life came forward to publicly reflect on, if perhaps not fully reckon with, questions of personal and collective guilt in the face of the Holocaust, died during the night of Jan. 27 at her home in Munich. She was 106.
Her death was confirmed by Roland Schrotthofer, a director of "A German Life," a documentary drawn from dozens of hours of interviews conducted with Pomsel when she was 103.
No other details were immediately available.
Pomsel was one of the last surviving members of the Nazi hierarchy's most intimate staff, but she spent all but the final years of her life in obscurity. She became widely known only after the premiere of the documentary in Nyon, Switzerland, in 2016. The U.S. release is forthcoming.
The film, directed by Schrotthofer, Christian Krönes, Olaf S. Müller and Florian Weigensamer, presents an arresting portrait of an ordinary German swept into the Nazi apparatus in her youth, then left to reflect for more than seven decades on her complicity, if any, in its crimes.
Pomsel sparkled on camera in her lucidity. She confessed to harboring "a bit of a guilty conscience" but professed that she had known nothing of the murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust — the "matter of the Jews," as she termed it — until after the war was over.
"Everything that is beautiful is also tainted," she said in the film, obliquely. "And whatever's horrible also has its bright side. Nothing's black and white. There's always a bit of gray in everything."