Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None stated
There can be few jobs more daunting in the world than that of
being Adolf Hitlers private secretary, one would have thought.
Yet, according to Traudl Junge, who worked alongside him from
1942 until his suicide in 1945, one of historys greatest
tyrants actually became something of a father-figure, and was
a charismatic, yet quietly spoken, boss.
The incredible story of Junges relationship with Hitler
is recounted in Blind Spot: Hitlers Secretary, an at times
riveting documentary from Austrian-born Jewish filmmaker, Andre
At the age of 22, Junge was an impressionable young girl who
travelled to Berlin in the hope of furthering a career as a dancer,
but who found herself working for one of the worlds most
powerful men instead.
As a result, she was alongside the dictator until the final collapse
of the Nazi regime, spending time in the Wolfs Lair (his
field headquarters in East Prussia), at his Bavarian residence
at Berchtesgaden and on the Fuhrers special train. He even
dictated his final will and testament to her, just hours before
taking his own life.
But while Junge fell under his paternal spell while in his company,
her eventual realisation of the horrors of the Third Reich - and
its treatment of the Jews, in particular - left lasting scars,
which she refused to speak about until the time of her death,
years later, at the age of 81.
Only in her final moments did she think that she could forgive
herself for the youthful naivety which allowed her to remain so
loyal during her younger years, and only as the world began to
let go of her, did she feel she could finally let
go of her experiences.
The ensuing film - which takes the form of a 90-minute interview,
condensed from 10 hours worth of material - makes for compelling
viewing, providing an extremely personal insight into the last
days of Hitler and those around him, including Eva Braun.
Heller, together with documentary filmmaker, Othmar Schmiderer,
has produced a historically important record of Junges unique
experiences, which deliberately renounces any form of stylistic
embellishment and instead relies entirely on the compelling force
of one womans tale.
How well it works as a piece of cinema depends entirely on how
interested you are in history, but there is no denying its power,
particularly during the eye-opening second half, when Junge faithfully
recreates the final three days of Hitlers regime, providing
a fascinating insight into the decaying state of the dictators
mind - a dejected and vulnerable loner, on the verge of defeat.
Needless to say, the movie does not make for easy viewing - particularly
as there are times when the white text of the subtitles is placed
upon Junges white jumper, making reading extremely difficult
- but listening to Hitlers former secretary describe the
way in which her blind devotion turned into a vehement hatred
provides a timely reminder of the effect of war upon the people
who are forced to live in its shadow - even after the fighting