Blind Spot: Hilter's Secretary
toten Winkel - Hitlers Sekretärin
review by Carrie Gorringe, 20 September 2002
27th Toronto International Film
Here's a new B-movie horror-film
title to go along with The Blob and Mars Needs Women:
I Was Hitler's Secretary!
Unfortunately, young Traudl Junge (née Hupps) lived out
that very role (right up to and including the infamous end in the
sub-Chancellery Bunker), and, fortunately, decided to tell her story
just before her death (she died from cancer just hours after the
film premiered at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival). In the process, she works her way through historical
territory which by now is well-known (if not well-worn). By the end, she is seen bitterly regretting the
"young fool" that she was when she resided within the
range of Hitler's charisma, but there have been many similar post
As with all of this post-Nazi-era
tales, however, there's always the nagging question of just how much
of this repentance was inspired by fear of reprisals or cynicism.
Frau Junge's, however, is far more persuasive in its claim to
legitimacy. She was
never a party member, but saw the idea of going to work in the Nazi
steno pool as both something fun to do, and also as a means of
escaping the notorious emotionally (and often physically) brutal
upbringing that many of her contemporaries shared (it's ironic that
it was through a most tangential relationship to the Nazi party –
with its anti-feminist beliefs – that Frau Junge may have
experienced her greatest personal and financial liberation).
She gained her position more through talent and luck (as the
result of an open competition) than through having the right
connections, and she claims not to have known that, at the end of
the contest, the winner would be working directly with Hitler.
Moreover, Frau Junge wasn't quick to cash in on her fame:
she reluctantly conceded to tell her story, and was, perhaps,
one of the few members of Hitler's entourage who nearly didn't.
As you watch the film, there's less of the usual feeling of
voyeurism that you get from these so-called "confessions;"
Frau Junge's tale unfolds like a form of personal catharsis.
This, it seems, is the "real" story from as
ordinary a person who was close to the inner circle as he/she was
likely to get: the person who
walked out from the belly of the beast with her morals reasonably
intact. But, did she
really, and how are we to ever know?
Paradoxically, in many ways, her forthrightness adds to the
ambiguity (the "deathbed confessional" nature of her
interviews also adds a touch of unease) and this is what keeps her
nevertheless remarkable story from becoming yet another of these
Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: