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Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary (Im toten Winkel - Hitlers Sekretärin) (2002)

  Directed by: André Heller, Othmar Schmiderer
Written by: André Heller, Othmar Schmiderer
Starring: Traudl Junge
Links: Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"It's all about the story" - a review by pearly

Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary is documentary filmmaking at its most raw. Directors André Heller and Othmar Schmiderer recognised that an interview with Traudl Junge, one of Adolf Hitler's secretaries up until the very end, and the person who dictated his last will and testament, was able to stand on its own two feet, so that's exactly what they did with it.

The film consists of an interview with Traudl, and that's about it. There are no cuts to archival footage, just a camera trained on Traudl, at various times in extreme close-up, as a bust, or showing her hands fidgeting etc. There are three different versions of Traudl, one is her initial interview, and is where most of the footage comes from, the second is of her watching back this initial interview, and from this footage, the directors show both her reactions to the things that she's saying, and occasionally she interjects with new information - things she's just thought of. The third seems to have been filmed entirely separate, and just has more of her talking, possibly shot a little later when she had thought of a few more things to say.

If the directors of this documentary thought that they would have enough material with purely the sound of Traudl's voice, and the image of her person, they were right. Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary is absorbing in the same way that The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) is; its subject is of such interest as to keep you enthralled throughout. The only deviation from the interview is some text on screen at the beginning, middle, and end, which describe succinctly some background information that gets the interview on its way.

It is easy to have mixed emotions about Traudl Junge. She worked as one of Hitler's closest employees, and on this basis, you could say that she is guilty by association, but the picture that she presents of her life tells a different story. In fact, she was never a member of the Nazi Party. This is one of the most interesting aspects of the film: the feelings that it brings up inside you. I'm sure that everyone who sees it will get something different out of it.

Junge describes a different Hitler to the one that everyone knows. She says that, in private, Hitler was softly spoken, and kind to those around him, especially the young women who he employed as his secretaries. She says that he loved his dog Blondie, and used to show people the tricks that the dog could do (he later killed the dog in order to test some poison that he had been given in case he needed to kill himself). He used to have lunch and dinner with his secretaries so that he could take this time away from his work, and just talk about everyday things.

Through the course of the film, Junge discusses in some detail how she was hired as a secretary, what things were like for the first little while, what life was like in the bunker, and, in great detail, the events of the last few days of Hitler's life, including his marriage to Eva Braun, his farewell to Junge herself, his death, and the events immediately after his death.

These stories are fascinating, but even more so are the things that are going on inside Junge's head, some of which reach the surface, and some not. She tells of her innocence and youth, and how she stumbled into the position she was in, having no real aspirations at the time. She tells of being stuck in the bunker, and not having a real perception of what was going on outside it, and of how Hitler was, to some extents, in the same situation (when he travelled, he kept the blinds down in the train, and his chaffeur drove him through streets that were least affected by the war). But at the same time, Junge tells of her struggle to forgive herself, as she now believes that youth was no excuse for going along with this evil man like she did, a man who, she says, she actually thought well of at the time.

As the film tells us, immediately following the war, no one was interested in Junge's story. And for the longest time since then, she has kept fairly quiet about the details of her life. It is an amazing achievement to have captured this interview (along with her memoirs, which were only published in 2002, the year of her death), and so close to her death. Fascinating stuff.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 2 Aug 2004

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Reader comments

  1. The film gives possibly the best insight into what went on and the atmosphere within the bunker at that time.The acting is quite superb,with not only the main cast but the children giving wonderful performances. A must see for anyone who is interested in the istory of the Third Reich and I believe it is the closest that we will get to the reality of the situation as it unfolded at the time

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from Robert Edgar on Tue 03 May 2005 23:05 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.00 (1 rating)

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