This story is inspired by true events and the life of Margot Wolk. For whatever reason Margot chose to take her secrets and her story to her grave. I can imagine she perhaps felt guilt in some measure. She was the only one of the women to survive and they didn’t die of old age – her connections proved advantageous to her survival at the time. There was also possibly a feeling that she was one of the people keeping Hitler and his officers alive.
Rosa is picked by the SS to work in Hitlers Lair, as one of a group of women who taste the food before Hitler and his officers partake of the same meal. Make no mistake this wasn’t voluntary, and despite there being austerity and a lack of food due to the war, eating the food was no pleasure.
When a meal turns into a game of life or death each mouthful of food becomes a balancing act between culinary delight and painful death.
Postorino shows the eccentric and paranoid side of Hitler. The way he was consumed with fear, which in turn fuelled his hatred and anger. It has an element of Roman pomposity to it – taste my grapes peasant.
In a way I found it disappointing that the author didn’t actually speak to Wolk – this is actually the aspect of the story I felt was missing, because it lacks the authenticity of an eyewitness. There are moments that speak to the trauma, the ruthless methodology of the regime. Then there are others, which smack of gratuitous drama.
Don’t get me wrong, the read and the story that inspired the book, are absolutely compelling. Postorino gives life to one of the stories that vanish in the many folds of historical accounts.
Buy The Women at Hitler’s Table at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins; pub date 14 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.
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