Nov 3, 2015

Recollections of Hitler's Secretary, Traudl Junge

via Britannia

Traudl Junge at the Berghof.
  She became Hitler's secretary in December, 1942
The most famous of Hitler's secretaries is the one with the shortest service record, only two and a half years. There are several reasons for this state of affairs. Being younger than the other secretaries Traudl Junge has been in the position to live past the post-war era when it was impossible to talk about Hitler in any other way than negatively.

Secondly, her book and two filmed interviews in which she recalls her experiences working with the Führer, have made her known even to the general public. Thirdly, Junge was the secretary who typed Hitler's last private and political will and testament in the Führerbunker a day and a half before Hitler's suicide.

When Junge's trial period as Hitler's secretary was about to end she was summoned in front of Hitler for the confirmation of her new job. She was expecting a loyalty oath, countless background checks, and to be forced to join the Nazi Party. Instead Hitler only wanted one promise from her. Since she would be a young girl working among a lot of male military personnel, she would have to promise to report to Hitler any harassment by them.

In June 1943, Gertraud "Traudl" Humps, as she was known then, married Hitler's SS aide Hans Junge - just three months after she had stated that she "had no interest in men". 

Traudl Junge with her Husband, SS-Obersturmführer Hans Junge

The fact that they both worked close to Hitler enabled Hans Junge to - finally, after several pleas - get away from Hitler's entourage for a frontline duty in the ranks of the Waffen SS. He died in combat in Normandy in August 1944.


Traudl Junge - "I asked Hitler why he only ever went to hear Die Meistersinger or other Wagnerian operas."

Hitler answered - "It is just my luck that I can never say I like something without finding that I'm stuck listening exclusively to one piece of music or hearing one particular opera. I once said that Meistersinger is really one of Richard Wagner's finest operas, so since then it is supposed to be my favourite opera and I do not get to hear anything else. The same thing happened with the Badenweiler March. And I was once invited to visit Frau Ley. She had a Scotch terrier bitch with seven puppies and was very proud of them. Just to be polite I said: Those are really delightful little creatures - although I think they're horrible, like rats. Next day she sent me one as a present." 
Traudl Junge - "Once the King of Bulgaria was asked to the Berghof. As I was wandering around the kitchen I happened to see the King drive up to the main entrance. Planning to reach my room unseen, I quickly ran across the yard behind the house so as to use the back door. I burst right into the ceremonial procession in which the Führer was leading the King through the living room to the Great Hall. I was holding an apple I'd just bitten into in my right hand, and two ping-pong bats in my other hand. My mouth was full too, so there was nothing I could say or do. Hitler and his guest looked at me in some surprise. When the Führer greeted me before dinner that evening, I apologized and he said, in very friendly tones, 'do not worry, child, kings are only human too.'"

Traudl Junge - "The waiting time before lunch passed in easy conversation [in the Berghof]. Hitler talked to Eva Braun, teased her about her dogs, which he said were nothing but a couple of dusting brushes, whereupon she replied that Blondi wasn't a dog at all but a calf. I was surprised to find that the man who had just come from a military briefing had left all his serious, official thoughts behind the heavy curtain that separated the Great Hall from the living room."

Eva Braun owned two Scottish terriers, Negus and Katuschka who Hitler referred to as a couple of dusting brushes

Traudl Junge - "After Hitler left his headquarters for a trip, it was strange the way peace and quiet suddenly fell over the whole camp. As if the engine of the entire power plant had suddenly been switched off. I realized for the first time ... how Hitler's personality was the driving force behind all these people. The puppet-master who held the string of the marionettes in his hands had suddenly let them drop."

Traudl Junge - "Hitler said, I do not know why you women have to keep changing your clothes. When I think a dress is particularly pretty then I would like to see its owner wearing it all the time. She ought to have all her dresses made of the same material and to the same pattern. But no sooner have I got used to something pretty, and I'm feeling I haven't seen enough of it yet, than along comes something new." 

Traudl Junge - "Once I asked: 'My Führer, why haven't you married?' His answer was rather surprising:" 

Hitler said - "I would not make a good father, and I think it would be irresponsible to start a family when I cannot devote enough time to my wife. And anyway I do not want children of my own. I think the offspring of men of genius usually have a very hard time of it. People expect them to be just like their famous progenitor, and won't forgive them for being only average. And in fact most of them are feeble-minded."

Traudl Junge - "Then came that grey, rainy day when Fraulein Wolf, eyes red with weeping, met me on the way to the Führer bunker. 'Stalingrad has fallen. Our whole army has been annihilated. They are dead!' She was almost sobbing. And we both thought of all that blood, and the dead men and the dreadful despair." (Fraulein Johanna Wolf was another one of Hitler's secretaries)

Note that Johanna Wolf was so loyal to Hitler that she wanted to die with him in the Führerbunker, but Hitler urged her to leave the Reich Chancellery for the sake of her 80 year old mother.

Filmed interviews featuring Traudl Junge: 

"Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary" is a 90-minute 2002 documentary film consisting only of "talking heads" -style interviews with Traudl Junge in German. 

"Secretary to Hitler" is a 23-minute extra episode of the documentary series "The World at War" which was made in the 1970s. Compared to the "Blind Spot," this production is at least in English (although not fluently) and features some photographs to interrupt the talking heads footage.

Junge's memoirs - "Until the Final Hour : Hitler's Last Secretary" - offers an interesting window into the life around Hitler.

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