Traudl Junge, 81, who was one of Adolf Hitler's secretaries and took his last will and testament, died of cancer Feb. 10 in a Munich hospital, just hours after a documentary on her life premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.
She was born Gertraud Humps in Munich, the daughter of Max Humps, an early Nazi devotee who tried to help Hitler gain power in the abortive 1923 Munich coup, 10 years before he was elected.
She applied for a secretarial job in the Reich Chancellery in 1942 and became one of the Nazi dictator's personal secretaries that December -- just as World War II was turning against Germany.
In 1943, she married Hitler aide Hans Junge. He was killed a year later when a British plane strafed his company in Normandy, France.
Mrs. Junge joined Hitler and his staff when they moved into an underground bunker in Berlin in January 1945. As the end neared in April 1945, she witnessed increasingly eerie scenes in the bunker that she later recounted for filmmakers.
The period is a focus of "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary," a 90-minute documentary that its Austrian director, Andre Heller, billed as the most in-depth interview on film with Mrs. Junge.
She recalled Hitler sitting for long periods of time just staring into the distance. Meals were no longer served regularly, and people even began to smoke in the fuehrer's presence.
"Everything took place so unceremoniously," Mrs. Junge said. "It was a terrible time. I can't really remember my feelings. We were all in a state of shock, like machines. It was an eerie atmosphere."
More controversially, she insisted that Hitler and other Nazi leaders "practically never mentioned the word Jew" in her presence -- even though it was during the time she served Hitler that most of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust died.
She said she found out about the Holocaust only after the war, and then felt wracked with guilt for having liked "the greatest criminal who ever lived."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Nazi watchdog group, reacted sharply to Mrs. Junge's statements after Heller's film was screened in Berlin.
"Her story reflects the blind loyalty of far too many Germans whose allegiance to Hitler and the Nazi party enabled the implementation of the Final Solution," said Efraim Zuroff, director of the center's office in Israel.
On April 28, 1945, two days before Hitler and his longtime mistress Eva Braun committed suicide, the fuehrer summoned Mrs. Junge and dictated his will.
After the war, she was taken into custody by the Red Army, then the United States. After being interrogated she was eventually released. She continued to work in Germany as a secretary, and later as an editor and journalist.
Heller, who culled the footage from 10 hours of interviews at Mrs. Junge's tidy one-room apartment in Munich, said she agreed to speak with him because she knew she did not have long to live.
Heller said she told him: "I have finally let go of my story. Now I feel the world is letting go of me."