Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary

Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary


Reviewed by: Stephanie Wolfe Murray

Traudl Junge became one of Hitler's secretaries in 1942. She was flattered and excited to have been chosen. She was 22 years old.

In the hilltop eyrie at Berchtesgarten in Bavaria, Traudl brings Hitler to life with sympathy and humour. He made jokes and preferred to take meals with his secretaries. The tenderness he showed his German Shepherd dog should have been touching, but it's impossible to forget his crimes against humanity.

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I cringed at the extent of Traudl's ignorance.

The bulk of her story is set in April, 1944, in the Berlin bunker, where it's edge-of-the-seat, day-by-day drama. They all wandered about with suicide pills in their pockets and Hitler would sit in the corridor with one of the new puppies, his face already a death mask.

He became increasingly paranoid that one of his staff would betray him - deliver him alive to the enemy - so much so that he tested the poison on his dog. When it died, he knew that he could still trust them.

Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer, the Jewish directors, took a brave decision. Breaking a self-imposed silence, months before her death, Traudl agreed to be filmed. Interviews took place in her apartment over 26 hours. Rather than intercut the reminiscences with archive footage, it was decided to stay with her throughout. It works beautifully.

The worst thing about such a thoughtful and touching film is the title, which suggests that Traudl suffered from a blind spot and was, therefore, guilty, at least by association. As one who abominates everything the Third Reich stood for, I could not bring myself to judge her.

Traudl Junge tells her story with dignity, honesty and courage. She deserves respect.

Reviewed on: 22 Jan 2004
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Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary packshot
Documentary focussing on one of Hitler's secretaries.
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Director: Andre Heller, Othmar Schmiderer

Starring: Traudl Junge

Year: 2002

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Austria


BIFF 2009

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