Sunday, November 18, 2007

Defending One's Self

This evening we watched Downfall. The story of Hitler's last ten days as seen through the eyes of Gertraud "Traudl" Humps his youngest private secretary. She stayed with him in the bunker until almost the last moment and was present when Hitler shot himself. The film ends with Traudl walking through the invading troops, hand in hand with a small boy. How things went for her immediately after her escape was, in actual fact, a very different story.

Her death came close after the publication of her book and the premier of the film. Othmar Schmiderer, the producer of the documentary Blind Spot, was among the last people to speak to her. He quoted her as saying: "Now that I've let go of my story, I can let go of my life." From the Traudl Humps Obituary in the Guardian.

We see the now elderly secretary being interviewed* at the beginning and end of the film. I didn't see her defending herself, she was obviously disturbed and found it difficult to forgive the young girl of her past. As she said, she was letting go of her last.

*The interviews were part of Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary, a 90 minite documentary directed by André Heller and Othmar Schmiderer.