Getraud "Traudl" Junge (née Humps; 16 March 1920 – 10 February 2002) was the last of Adolf Hitler's secretaries.
Gertraud "Traudl" Humps was born in Munich, the daughter of a master brewer and lieutenant in the Reserve Army, Max Humps and his wife Hildegard (née Zottmann). She had a sister, Inge, born in 1923. As a teenager she thought of becoming a ballerina.
Traudl Junge began working for Hitler in December 1942. She was the youngest of his private secretaries.
Junge said decades later, "I was 22 and I didn't know anything about politics, it didn't interest me", also stating that she felt great guilt for "liking the greatest criminal ever to have lived". She later acknowledged, "I admit, I was fascinated by Adolf Hitler. He was a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend. I deliberately ignored all the warning voices inside me and enjoyed the time by his side almost until the bitter end. It wasn't what he said, but the way he said things and how he did things."
In June 1943, she married Hans Hermann Junge, an SS officer who was killed in 1944, leaving her a widow.
Junge witnessed the last days in the Führerbunker and her memoirs were a major source for the screenwriters of Downfall. On 1 May Junge left the Führerbunker with a group led by Waffen-SS Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke. Also in the group were Hitler's personal pilot Hans Baur, the chief of Hitler's Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) bodyguard Hans Rattenhuber, secretary Gerda Christian, secretary Else Krüger, Hitler's dietician Constanze Manziarly and Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck. Junge, Christian and Krüger made it out of Berlin to the River Elbe, but most of the others still alive were found by Soviet troops on 2 May, hiding in a cellar off the Schönhauser Allee. The Germans who had been in the Führerbunker and captured by the Soviet army were handed over to SMERSH for interrogation about what had happened in the bunker during the closing weeks of the war. Although Junge had reached the Elbe she was unable to reach the western Allied lines, so she went back to Berlin, getting there about a month after she had left, hoping to take a train to the west when they began running again. On 9 July, after living there for about a week under the alias "Gerda Alt" she was arrested by two civilian members of the Soviet military administration and was kept in Berlin for interrogation.
After many interrogations, she was later released in the Soviet sector of Berlin, and with some help from her mother she managed to enter the Allied controlled Germany. Junge was held and interrogated for a short time by US soldiers about her time in the Führerbunker during the first half of 1945. She was then freed and allowed to integrate into postwar Germany.
The 2002 release of her autobiography Until the Final Hour, co-written with author Melissa Müller and describing the time she worked for Hitler, brought media coverage. She was also interviewed for the 2002 documentary film Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary (some scenes were included in the Downfall prologue and epilogue) which drew much attention. Junge died from cancer in Munich on 10 February 2002 at the age of 81 and she was given global celebrity for a few days, reportedly having said shortly before her death, "Now that I've let go of my story, I can let go of my life."
Traudl is the secretary to Hitler in the film. Because Downfall is based off her memoirs, among others, she was depicted as a bystander and observer to much of the events happening in the Führerbunker. Her recollection of the events are included in the film's prologue and epilogue, taken from a 2002 interview (see above).
She was first seen in the film's story line in November 1942, as she and four other ladies from Berlin approached the Wolf's Lair in the dark of night by foot. There she was interviewed by Hitler, asked to type a speech for him, and finally hired.
Two and a half years later, as the Soviets began firing artillery shells towards Berlin, Traudl was woken up by the sound and vibrations of the explosions. She was present in the hall where high-ranking officers shook hands with Hitler on his birthday, having a little talk with Constanze Manziarly. During Hitler's conversation with Speer around the model of Berlin she persuaded Hitler to leave Berlin, saying the Soviets are swiftly surrounding them.
She was later seen in a party thrown by Eva, drinking with Gerda. Seeing Eva dancing, oblivious to the war going on around them, she felt nauseated and told Gerda that she felt like being in a dream that she can't woke up from.
She was one of the many people that overheard Hitler's rants as he found out of Steiner's failure to launch an attack on the Soviets encroaching Berlin. She went to comfort Gerda who broke down to tears. As Hitler went out of the room and told her and Gerda that a plane was being readied to fly them out of Berlin, she replied that she would stay with him.
Throughout the rest of the film, Traudl performs her regular duties as Hitler's secretary, such as recording Hitler's statements, passing messages to Bormann, or revising the documents of the bunker's other residents.
Another time, she and Gerda were given two cyanide capsules by Hitler in order to avoid capture.
When Hitler gets married, she briefly witnesses it while working. In an extended scene, she meets up with Gerda and Eva during the reception.
When Hitler finally commits suicide, she saw his and Eva's bodies being dragged away for cremation. A short while later, she investigated Hitler's sitting room and found two pistols - one of which was a blood-stained Walther PPK.
Later that night, she and the rest of the Führerbunker residents who wish to stay alive flee the bunker under Schenck and Mohnke. After a night of dodging Soviet forces, the group managed to flee to an abandoned factory, where they met up with more troops. Fearing for her safety, Schenck asked her to leave, fearing what would happen if she was caught by the Soviets. She leaves, despite not wanting to leave her friends, especially Gerda behind. After encouragement from Gerda, Traudl avoids a drunken Soviet soldier and runs into Peter Kranz. The two escape the rest of the Soviets, get a bicycle, and leave Berlin.
Real-life Traudl appears one more time at the end segment of the film. She recollects how at her younger past she thought she was innocent from the Nazi regime, but later found out about Sophie Scholl who rebelled against the state even though they're around the same age, and realized that her youth wasn't an excuse.
Downfall Parody Universe
Compared to the original film, where she is the viewpoint character, Traudl has a very small role in the parodies. She is mostly relegated to the sidelines, uttering one line or two, while most of the focus goes to the likes of Hitler and Fegelein. Like in the original film, Traudl is depicted as Hitler's secretary. Traudl is also depicted as being clever and resourceful. Being 25 years old in Der Untergang supports this claim.
She is almost always shown in the parodies with Gerda, and sometimes they are shown as best friends. She also comforts her when she cries in the Original Bunker Scene. For some reason Martin Bormann insults her with sexist remarks when she brings him the mail in the Bormann informs Hitler scene. But the young secretary is either to afraid to stand up for herself, or just refuses to react to refrain Bormann any satisfaction.
Because of her good looks, she is also the face of Hitler's affections at times. This can either be portrayed as genuine, with Hitler really loving her, albeit in a comical cartoonish way. Or having Hitler think and even say perverse sexual things about her.
Some Untergangers depict Traudl as an antic-doer, making her the only female in the film to be an antic master (as well as one of the only known females in the Parody Universe that are skilled in committing such acts, besides Felicity Merriman), although other Untergangers put her on the receiving end of Fegelein's pranks. In one such parody, she was even Fegelein's antic apprentice, and exhibited considerable skills in lightsaber combat, which Fegelein had clearly taught her.
- The speech that Hitler dictated during her secretarial interview was his Stalingrad speech delivered on 9 November 1942. The speech is notable as the only one where Hitler mainly speaks in a normal tone. The speech is portrayed in Stalingrad. The whole speech translation can be found here. The beginning of the speech can be heard in this recording on YouTube.