Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary

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Arcade Publishing, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 261 pages
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In 1942 Germany, Traudl Junge was a young woman with dreams of becoming a ballerina like her sister, when she was offered the chance of a lifetime. At the age of twenty-two she became private secretary to Adolf Hilter, and she served him for two and a half years, right up to the bitter end. Her memoir, which she wrote not long after the war when the memories were still fresh, offers a unique and chilling glimpse of the human face of this man known to posterity as a monster.
As part of the secretarial pool, Junge observed the intimate workings of Hitler's administration. She traveled back and forth with him between the Wolf's Lair in eastern Prussia and Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps, and finally to the bunker in Berlin. She typed correspondence and speeches, including Hitler's public and private last will and testament. She and the other secretaries ate their meals and spent evenings with him, as well as with Eva Braun and high-ranking Nazi officials. She was close enough to hear the bomb that was intended to assassinate Hitler in the Wolf's Lair. She heard the shot with which Hitler ended his life, and smelled the bitter almond odor of Eva Braun's cyanide pill.
But while Junge was witness to crucial events in Hitler's last years, it is her precise, detailed observations of the outwardly normal, almost mundane quality of day-to-day life with Hitler that prove most disturbing in her memoir. In this she confirms once again - as did Victor Klemperer in his diary I Will Bear Witness - what Hannah Arendt has called the banality of evil.

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Until the Final Hour : Hitler's Last Secretary

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Quite by happenstance in November 1942, 22-year-old Junge became one of Hitler's secretaries and thus one of the Fuhrer's inner circle. She was with his close entourage near the eastern front, at ... Read full review

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A memoir as one of Hitler's private secretaries (from the first meeting in November 1942 through the end in April 1945). "Traudl" Junge was born Gertraud Humps. Later, with Hitler's encouragement, she married one of his orderies, Hans H. Junge in June of 1943. Hans Junge was killed in action on August 13, 1944. Though it all she continued working at Hitler's side and looked on him as a father figure. The book shows her interaction with Hitler along with his private side. She is able to give thumb nail sketches of his inner circle, as well. Mrs. Junge was present in the Führerbunker and describes the events therein. She typed Hitler's last will and political testament. She also heard "the shot" in which Hitler ended his life.
The book is not meant to be a scholarly written book as to those times and events. It is interesting and gives the reader anecdotes and observations. The book is written mainly from the point of view of the (then) rather naive, non-political young woman who witnessed the decline and fall of both Hitler and Nazi Germany. A main source for the movie "Downfall".
Footnote: Much of the information put forth in the book above was covered by Mrs. Junge in her contributions to: "Voices From the Bunker" by Pierre Galante. However, "Voices From the Bunker" was not quite as detailed overall and further did not include pre-Hitler and post-Hitler information as to Mrs. Junge's life.



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About the author (2003)

Anthea Bell was born in Suffolk, was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, and works as a translator, primarily from German and French. Her translations include works of non-fiction, literary and popular fiction, and books for young people including classic German works by the Brothers Grimm, Clemens Brentano, Wilhelm Hauff and Christian Morgenstern. She has been the recipient of a number of translation prizes and awards including the 1987 Schlegel-Tieck Award for Hans Berman's The Stone and the Flute, the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation for Christine Nöstlinger's A Dog's Life, the 2002 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for her translation of W.G. Sebald's novel Austerlitz, and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize in 2009 for How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone.

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