BLIND SPOT: HITLER'S SECRETARY

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Release Date: January 24, 2003

Starring:

Genre: Documentary

Audience: All ages REVIEWER: Dr. Ted
Baehr BLIND SPOT: HITLER'S
SECRETARY is a 90 minute,
straightforward, no special
effects, plain interview with
Traudl Junge, the secretary of
Adolph Hitler. The movie is
fascinating, not for what Frau
Junge describes, in an
incredible display of total
recall, but with what the
viewer tries to discern
between the lines of her
interview. Her interviewer,
who is not seen in the movie,
is André Heller, who says,
"My father was among the Jews
who were arrested immediately
when the Nazis invaded Austria
in 1938." He adds, "Two years
ago, when it became apparent
that, after 55 years, Traudl
Junge, the private secretary
of the man who must have been
the worst criminal in the
history of the world, was
prepared to tell her story on
camera for the first time - to
me of all people - I was
virtually reduced to a state
of shock. . . . I couldn't
help wondering what my father
would have said about the
whole situation." Mr. Heller
goes on to explain that he is
not a judge, a historian or a
journalist, but just an
artist. He took this
confession from one of the
closest associates to Adolph
Hitler. Frau Junge kept silent
for 55 years after the death
of Hitler, Eva Braun and some
of Hitler's close associates
in the bunker where they all
resided in Berlin. Then, in
2001, just before her death of
cancer, she gave this long
interview to André Heller.
Heller condensed the 10 hours
into a 90 minute movie,
renouncing all forms of
stylistic embellishment. Frau
Junge must have been an
incredible secretary. Her
recall is so precise. Of
course, when Hitler was
looking for a secretary, he
chose the most attractive,
with the best skills. Frau
Junge says Hitler was a
grandfatherly figure to the
young female staff. That,
although he was kind, he was
almost asexual and non-erotic.
She says that she was not
political, and that Hitler did
not talk much about the
politics, or the Jewish
situation, to her. When she
found out after the war what
had happened, she carried the
guilt with her for years and
gave the interview to excuse
herself and confess her
sins. Behind the barrage of
detailed memories of each
moment of each day, there are
a few insights. Frau Junge
remembers that Hitler talked
briefly about the Jews and the
Bolsheviks, and the fact that
the West did not understand
that Germany was the front
line of defense. Frau Junge
explains that Hitler said that
after the war, if the Nazis
lost, all the German men would
be castrated and all the women
raped. When she was captured
by the Americans and found out
how generous they were and how
much they loved freedom, it
caused her to not just
renounce Hitler's apocalyptic
vision, but to hate him for
lying to her and abandoning
her. How Hitler convinced so
many people to adopt his
warped vision of reality is
not answered in this movie,
but the question becomes even
more important in the light of
this intelligent woman's
experiences. One gets the
feeling, although no one will
ever know, that she rehearsed
this confession for the entire
55 years she kept quiet. If
one has a suspicious nature or
believes man is fallen, one
would wonder what she has not
told André Heller about what
she knew. In all of her time
with Hitler, Frau Junge has
only one blank spot - the
moment after he married Eva
Braun, they shot themselves,
his body was burned, and when
the very young Goebels'
children were murdered in the
bunker. She says she can't
remember anything, so the
question arises, was she an
accomplice? Although she
claims to have not known what
was going on outside the
bunker, or even during the
years before while working at
Hitler's various residences,
she does relate certain
tidbits that suggest she knew
more than she lets on in this
interview. Soon after she was
captured, the Americans
decided she was not political
and let her go. One can only
wonder. There have been
several recent television
programs and movies about
Hitler. Some have portrayed
him as a brilliant devil,
others, like MAX, have shown
him as a buffoon. This movie
portrays him as a man who
thought of himself as a
genius, who was kind to those
around him, and who could
impose his will to manipulate
the conscience and the will of
millions of people, which is
incredibly frightening. There
is no sex, violence or nudity
in BLIND SPOT. There are a
couple of "Thank Gods" and one
light obscenity. There is
discussion that Hitler was
non-erotic, but not in
salacious terms, and some
references to the Jews and
Bolshevism. It is very
strange, therefore, that BLIND
SPOT received a PG. Frau
Junge's confession that Hitler
was a criminal and her
rejection of everything he
advocated is clear, so there
seems little chance that
anyone seeing this documentary
would get caught up in
Hitler's warped vision. This
movie is a small piece in a
larger puzzle, with the whole
puzzle describing one of the
worst events in human history.
It is an unfinished puzzle,
just as the story of Mao,
Stalin, the French Revolution,
and other heinous events are
incomprehensible, because of a
lack of complete evidence. We
can only pray that people
reject the next world leader
who portrays himself as
mankind's savior, while
realizing that people are very
susceptible. As Benjamin
Franklin said, "Men will
ultimately be governed by God,
or by tyrants." Please address
your comments to: Michael
Barker, Tom Bernard & Marcie
Bloom Co-Presidents Sony
Pictures Classics 550 Madison
Avenue, 8th Floor New York, NY
10022 Phone: (212)
833-8833 Web Page:
www.spe.sony.com

Rating: PG

Runtime:

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Director: André Heller and Othmar
Schmiderer

Executive Producer:

Producer:

Writer:

Address Comments To:

Content:

(B, L) Moral worldview; one light obscenity; no sex, violence or nudity; and, nothing else objectionable.

GENRE: Documentary

B

L

Summary:

BLIND SPOT: HITLER'S SECRETARY is a 90 minute, straightforward, no special effects, plain interview with Traudl Junge, the secretary of Adolph Hitler. With no overt objectionable content, the movie is fascinating, not for what Frau Junge describes, in an incredible display of total recall, but with what the viewer tries to discern between the lines of her interview.

Review:

BLIND SPOT: HITLER'S SECRETARY is a 90 minute, straightforward, no special effects, plain interview with Traudl Junge, the secretary of Adolph Hitler. The movie is fascinating, not for what Frau Junge describes, in an incredible display of total recall, but with what the viewer tries to discern between the lines of her interview.

Her interviewer, who is not seen in the movie, is André Heller, who says, "My father was among the Jews who were arrested immediately when the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938." He adds, "Two years ago, when it became apparent that, after 55 years, Traudl Junge, the private secretary of the man who must have been the worst criminal in the history of the world, was prepared to tell her story on camera for the first time - to me of all people - I was virtually reduced to a state of shock. . . . I couldn't help wondering what my father would have said about the whole situation." Mr. Heller goes on to explain that he is not a judge, a historian or a journalist, but just an artist. He took this confession from one of the closest associates to Adolph Hitler.

Frau Junge kept silent for 55 years after the death of Hitler, Eva Braun and some of Hitler's close associates in the bunker where they all resided in Berlin. Then, in 2001, just before her death of cancer, she gave this long interview to André Heller. Heller condensed the 10 hours into a 90 minute movie, renouncing all forms of stylistic embellishment.

Frau Junge must have been an incredible secretary. Her recall is so precise. Of course, when Hitler was looking for a secretary, he chose the most attractive, with the best skills. Frau Junge says Hitler was a grandfatherly figure to the young female staff. That, although he was kind, he was almost asexual and non-erotic. She says that she was not political, and that Hitler did not talk much about the politics, or the Jewish situation, to her. When she found out after the war what had happened, she carried the guilt with her for years and gave the interview to excuse herself and confess her sins.

Behind the barrage of detailed memories of each moment of each day, there are a few insights. Frau Junge remembers that Hitler talked briefly about the Jews and the Bolsheviks, and the fact that the West did not understand that Germany was the front line of defense. Frau Junge explains that Hitler said that after the war, if the Nazis lost, all the German men would be castrated and all the women raped. When she was captured by the Americans and found out how generous they were and how much they loved freedom, it caused her to not just renounce Hitler's apocalyptic vision, but to hate him for lying to her and abandoning her.

How Hitler convinced so many people to adopt his warped vision of reality is not answered in this movie, but the question becomes even more important in the light of this intelligent woman's experiences. One gets the feeling, although no one will ever know, that she rehearsed this confession for the entire 55 years she kept quiet. If one has a suspicious nature or believes man is fallen, one would wonder what she has not told André Heller about what she knew.

In all of her time with Hitler, Frau Junge has only one blank spot - the moment after he married Eva Braun, they shot themselves, his body was burned, and when the very young Goebels' children were murdered in the bunker. She says she can't remember anything, so the question arises, was she an accomplice? Although she claims to have not known what was going on outside the bunker, or even during the years before while working at Hitler's various residences, she does relate certain tidbits that suggest she knew more than she lets on in this interview. Soon after she was captured, the Americans decided she was not political and let her go. One can only wonder.

There have been several recent television programs and movies about Hitler. Some have portrayed him as a brilliant devil, others, like MAX, have shown him as a buffoon. This movie portrays him as a man who thought of himself as a genius, who was kind to those around him, and who could impose his will to manipulate the conscience and the will of millions of people, which is incredibly frightening.

There is no sex, violence or nudity in BLIND SPOT. There are a couple of "Thank Gods" and one light obscenity. There is discussion that Hitler was non-erotic, but not in salacious terms, and some references to the Jews and Bolshevism. It is very strange, therefore, that BLIND SPOT received a PG. Frau Junge's confession that Hitler was a criminal and her rejection of everything he advocated is clear, so there seems little chance that anyone seeing this documentary would get caught up in Hitler's warped vision.

This movie is a small piece in a larger puzzle, with the whole puzzle describing one of the worst events in human history. It is an unfinished puzzle, just as the story of Mao, Stalin, the French Revolution, and other heinous events are incomprehensible, because of a lack of complete evidence. We can only pray that people reject the next world leader who portrays himself as mankind's savior, while realizing that people are very susceptible. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Men will ultimately be governed by God, or by tyrants."

Please address your comments to:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard & Marcie Bloom

Co-Presidents

Sony Pictures Classics

550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor

New York, NY 10022

Phone: (212) 833-8833

Web Page: www.spe.sony.com

In Brief: