By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 28, 2003 at 5:11 AM

It's slow, it's considered, it's powerful. "Blind Spot -- Hitler's Secretary" is a no-nonsense, no-frills documentary about the experiences of Traudl Junge, who worked as Hitler's secretary from 1943 until the end of the war.

The 90-minute film, directed by Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer, which earned prizes at numerous film festivals, is the result of efforts of the writer Melissa Muller, who helped convince Junge that filming her memories would be a valuable historical document.

The results are a testament to the power of film, even without special effects, a good script, a big budget and top-name actors. The camera never wavers from its close-up on Junge as she recalls meeting Hitler, applying to work as his secretary and, perhaps most engaging, Hitler's last days in the bunker, where Junge was one of the people who remained safe beneath 33 meters of concrete as the Russians bombed the heck out of Berlin. There is no old footage and there are no vintage photographs.

What makes the film even more important is that Junge, who was speaking publicly about her experiences for the first time, died the day after the film debuted in Berlin. Had it not been made in time, her information would have been lost forever.


Instead, she explains how even in the lion's den as a 22-year-old secretary, she never had any idea of the horrors taking place in Germany. Perhaps it was innocence, perhaps myopia that kept her ignorant. At the end of the war, Junge felt no guilt, but as time passed, she began to question how she could have failed to see what was going on.

Of course, what she would have been able to do had she known is another question altogether. In the end, she came to vehemently despise the Nazis and their ideology, especially after the war, when she saw that post-war Germany did not become the apocalpytic society that Hitler had predicted and that the Americans were helpful and kind.

As she's speaking, we see Junge's pain and also the relief, perhaps, of finally releasing these memories from her mind, where they held a prominent place for more than a half a century.

Don't see "Blind Spot" expecting entertainment. But expect some education and a slice of humanity.

"Blind Spot -- Hitler's Secretary" opens Fri., March 28 at Landmark's Downer Theatre.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.