At 22 she dreamed of being a ballerina, yet she ended up working for and “liking the greatest criminal ever to have lived.” In this book she simply retells her experiences, without really putting her own interpretation to her actions and feelings.
Throughout the book we come up against that old cliche, the banality of evil. Hitler doesn’t really seem all that bad a boss, but all the same we know what he did, the horrific actions that he was responsible for. As with the film Downfall we get a glimpse into the life of someone who knew there was something wrong, but who didn’t really understand the situation. Junge tells us that she never knew what was going on in the concentration camps, that it was only after the war that the truth emerged and she had to face exactly who and what she worked for.
The editor, Melissa Muller has an afterword where she describes Junge’s life after the war. How she never really hid what she had done during the war but at the same time she never really examined it either. Junge was content to consign it to the past. It was only in later years that she began to understand the guilt that was constantly gnawing at her, the knowledge that youth isn’t an excuse.
Traudl Junge died of cancer in 2002, and in the Guardian’s obit they bring up the belief of many historians that she and others close to the Fuhrer suffered from an entirely self-induced amnesia.
Whatever the truth, this book is well worth a read.