Typing For Goebbels And Other Stories

Karen Liebreich's latest book contains interviews with Nazi Film-Makers


Sign up for our weekly Chiswick newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Local author Karen Liebreich has had some interesting assignments in her career but perhaps none as strange as the time she, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, found herself drinking drinking coffee with Goebbels’s typist.

Her latest book, The Black Page: Interviews With Nazi Film-makers, details her meeting with Brunhilde Pomsel, one of Josef Goebbels’s secretaries. The book contains never-before published interviews with those at the heart of Goebbels’ propaganda machine – the Nazi Marilyn Monroe, Lilli Marlene’s composer, Leni Riefenstahl’s cameraman, Goebbels’ secretary Brunhilde Pomsel and many more.

cover of the Black Page by local author Karen Liebreich

Brunhilde worked for the Propaganda Ministry from 1942 to 1945, sitting in the front room with three or four other secretaries doing the typing. Goebbels had a private secretary who managed his diaries.

Karen recalls; "She said she had been obliged to take the job because she had been one of the fastest typists at the Berliner Rundfunk, and that she had earned 500 Reichsmarks per month. She recalled that every day someone came to give Goebbels a manicure. She knew nothing of the worst aspects of the Nazi regime, she said: ‘I was a silly, politically uninterested sausage with simple relationships. The first I heard of it was after I was released from prison.’

"She spent the last ten days of the war in the bunker at the Propaganda Ministry, where business continued. She heard about her boss’s suicide on 1 May 1945, and spent the next five years in a Russian prison camp. On her release, she returned to work in broadcasting, for Südwestrundfunk in Baden-Baden."

Many of the interviews in The Black Page are based on her first-hand interviews conducted in the making of various BBC documentaries. She worked on several historical documentaries in the BBC and on the History Channel. The names include Wilfred von Oven, Press officer to Joseph Goebbels; Marianne Hoppe an actress, Fritz Hippler, Director, Head of Reich’s Film Department,
Leni Riefenstahl, Actress, director, and many more.

Karen is well known in Chiswick for her work with the Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House and she is the co-founder of Abundance London, which is shortly to start work on its project at the Turnham Green railway walls. She can regularly be seen guerilla gardening along Chiswick High Road, or at the Salopian Garden in Isleworth.

karen liebreich

She was awarded an MBE for services to horticulture and education in 2013.

This is Karen's fourth book. In 2004 she wrote Fallen Order, which is about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the 17th century. In 2006 she write The Letter In the Bottle, an account of her journey in tracing the mother who wrote a message in a bottle which Karen discovered on a beach. The message was an expression of grief over the death of the woman's son. Karen eventually tracked down the woman in France, and it was subsequently turned into a BBC Radio 4 play in 2012.

The Family Kitchen Garden, (2009) is based on her experiences restoring and preserving the historic kitchen garden in the grounds of Chiswick House.

The Black Page can be purchased on Amazon or though Karen's website ;

www.karenliebreich.com for £5.99.

March 21, 2017

Bookmark and Share