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29 October 2014
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15Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary [Im Toten Winkel - Hitlers Sekretärin] (2003)

updated 22nd September 2003
reviewer's rating
four star
Reviewed by Jamie Russell


Director
André Heller
Othmar Schmiderer
Othmar Schmiderer
Writer
Andreé Heller
Stars
Traudl Junge
Length
90 minutes
Distributor
Columbia TriStar
Cinema
26th September 2003
Country
Austria
Genre
Documentary
World Cinema
Web Links
Visit the official website



Traudl Junge took dictation from the man who would go down in history as the most evil dictator of the 20th century. In 1942, she accepted a job as one of Hitler's personal secretaries.

After 50 years of silence, the 81-year-old tells her story in this sparse documentary. It's shot without frills in a series of static takes featuring only Junge - primly dressed, elderly, and stoic - talking directly to the camera.

There are no cutaways to newsreel footage, photos or other interviewees, just Junge recalling the personal reality of knowing Hitler.

As a historical document, this is compelling filmmaking: stories of Hitler always have a macabre fascination and Junge's collection of tales is no exception.

Her portrait of Hitler - a man who hated being touched, suffered stomach problems, and loved his German Shepherd dog - makes this essential viewing. It is an up-close-and-personal document of a life far from ordinary, but it's also something more.

Breaking her self-imposed silence in over 26 hours of interviews (edited down to a paltry 90 minutes), this is a film that's as much about Junge as the Führer.

She's haunted by her "blind spot" - despite being at the centre of the Nazi regime, she never questioned what Hitler or the Party told her. Junge carefully styles herself as an elderly woman trying to lay the ghosts of her past to rest.

It's a performance that bears a hint of duplicity, yet the news that she died on the eve of the film's premiere in Berlin offers a fitting symmetry. It's as if, unburdened of her story, she could finally let go.

Whatever we may make of Junge, it's ultimately clear that she was neither evil nor stupid. Rather she was just one of many who chose to turn a blind eye.

Find out more about "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary [Im Toten Winkel - Hitlers Sekretärin]" at
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