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'Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary'

Friday, May 02, 2003

By Ron Weiskind, Post-Gazette Movie Editor

At times, the words almost gush from her mouth. There are occasional cuts in the narrative -- different colored blouses indicate the interviews were conducted over several sessions. Sometimes, she is watching a tape of herself talking, mouthing her own words.

 
 
'Blind Spot:
Hitler's Secretary'

RATING: PG for thematic material.

DIRECTORS: Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer.

For the 90 minutes of the documentary "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary," the camera stares, mostly unblinking, at the face of the woman mentioned in the title, an octogenarian named Traudl Junge who talks about her life as one of the women who took dictation for Der Fuhrer.

WEB SITE: www.sonyclassics.com/blindspot

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For Traudl Junge must undergo not only our scrutiny but her own. When she went to work for Der Fuhrer, she didn't see the monster within. Upon first meeting him, she tells us, he reminded her of a kindly old father figure -- something she never had as a child.

In grim detail she recounts the final year of World War II as seen from close proximity to Hitler -- from the 1944 assassination attempt to the surreal final days in the bunker in Berlin, when Hitler had given up all hope of victory. This account flows out in torrents until there is nothing left. At one point, she says, all any of them talked about was the most painless form of suicide.

But Traudl Junge survived and kept the story mostly to herself until now. She is ashamed that she didn't understand what was happening during the war. On her deathbed (she passed away the day after this film's premiere at the Berlin Film Festival), she told the filmmakers she was starting to forgive herself.

What she tells us about Hitler is fascinating. But the most important part of "Blind Spot" is what she tells us about herself -- and, by extension, the German people in their fervent support of him.

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