Traudl Junge was Adolf Hitler's private secretary, from Autumn 1942 until the collapse of the Nazi regime. She worked for him at the Wolfsschanze in Obersalzberg, on his private train and, finally, in his bunker in the besieged capital. It was Traudl Junge to whom Hitler dictated his final testament. In her first ever on-camera interview, 81-year-old Junge talks about her unique life. In the spring of 2001, Andre Heller succeeded in convincing Traudl Junge how valuable it is to record her unique memories. Fifty-six years after the end of the Second World War, an important eyewitness reveals her experiences to us. What she saw and heard turned her into an furious opponent of National Socialism; an opponent, moreover, who is still painfully aware and seems incapable of forgiving the young girl she once was--for her naivete, ignorance, and her liking for Hitler. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The official sites of this film claim that these interviews are Traudl Junge's first public appearance, that she "kept quiet for nearly 60 years". See more »
But one day I walked past the memorial plaque for Sophie Scholl on Franz-Joseph-Straße and there I realised that she was my age group and that she was executed the year I came to Hitler. That moment I felt that being young actually isn't an excuse and that maybe one could have learnt about things.
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Some people who have viewed and commented on this documentary have suggested that it is a sign of residual sympathy for Hitler (and maybe even for "National Socialism")if Hitler is portrayed in a human light: his "fatherly" qualities, his personal "warmth" and "charm," etc. But it is a great mistake to insist that, for Hitler to have been responsible for the monstrosities of the Nazi regime, he must have been a monster in his personal relationships as well. This leads to the facile equation: monstrous man commits monstrous deeds. And, of course, this proposition is very satisfying for most of us, because we think we can tell who's a monster and who is not in the political arena (everybody, that is, except for those dopey Germans of the 1930s). But the great lesson of the 20th century is that regimes can arise which do not require monstrous humans to do monstrous things--they do just fine with the human material available next door to all of us. Which is not to say that Hitler was not a psychopath or a sociopath, but only to say that he needn't have been one to be at the helm of a regime responsible for unspeakable atrocities. And so Frau Junge's portrait of Hitler should be seen as a reminder not to be taken in by the folksy, good-ol'-boy qualities of leaders, for whatever their personal likability may be, they can still be responsible for monstrous deeds.
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