Gertraud "Traudl" Junge was born in Munich.Junge was born Gertraud Humps in Munich to an unemployed beer brewer, Max Humps and wife Hildegard, a general’s daughter.
Junge described Hitler as a kindly and paternal figure who she very much wanted to please. She worked at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden, the “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters in East Prussia and accompanied Hitler when visiting Mussolini in northern Italy.
I did find it exciting. I didn’t know what had happened to me, suddenly there I was, little Traudl Humps, sitting
opposite the Führer.
“I admit, I was fascinated by Adolf Hitler. He was a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend.”
Traudl Junge, 2002.
We made our way to the Fuhrer’s bunker and he was standing in the anteroom. He looked so funny that we almost burst out laughing. His hair was standing on end, his trousers were hanging in tatters, but he greeted us with an almost triumphant smile and said, ‘I have been saved. Destiny has chosen me, providence has preserved me. It is a sign that I must see my mission through to the end. Those cowards were too scared to open fire and risk their own lives, they planed a bomb’.
He was raging and cursing and he thought the construction squad that had just built the barracks might have hidden a bomb in the floor of the building.
“...At the time we were very relieved because, after all, we had been spared a huge change that would have affected us in ways we could hardly imagine.
“...The incident made him feel even more certain he was on the right path. I have often wondered whether it might have been possible before then, when the situation wasn’t so absolutely terrible, for him to say, ‘I can’t win the war’. Perhaps he would have said at some point, ‘I have to make peace.’ But after the attack any hope of that was completely in vain.”
-Traudl Junge on the assassination attempt and Hitler's reaction
Traudl and Hans Junge show their wedding photographs
to Johanna Wolf. (photo: Walter Frentz)
Suddenly (...) there is the sound of a shot, so loud, so close, that we all fall silent. It echoes on through all the rooms. ‘That was a direct hit,’ cried Helmut (Goebbels) with no idea how right he is. The Führer is dead now.
“I am frozen and scarcely know what’s going on around me. Only when Eva Braun comes over to me is the spell broken a little.
‘Please do try to get out. You may yet make your way through. And give Bavaria my love,’ she says, smiling but with a sob in her voice. She is wearing the Führer’s favourite dress, the black one with the roses at the neckline, and her hair is washed and beautifully done. Like that, she follows the Führer into his room – and to her death. The heavy iron door closes.”
- Traudl Junge, from
Until the Final Hour, 2002
A photo for Junge's
new identity card
in 1945 .
Junge fled the bunker after Hitler’s suicide and lived for a week under the alias “Gerda Alt”, trying to get out of Berlin. She was arrested and interrogated by the Soviets and released in December 1945.
Junge made her way from the Soviet-controlled sector to her native Bavaria, which at the time was controlled by the Americans. After facing another interrogation she was allowed to integrate into postwar Germany.
German actor Alexandra Maria Lara as Traudl Junge in Downfall.
We all knew about his hatred for the Jews but I think nobody took it seriously enough.
“In Hitler’s circle nobody was informed about anything of what happened to the Jews officially.
“Maybe, I must admit that, (…) if anybody of us would have insisted and tried to find out, there would have been a possibility to find out more about it. But I think we were cowards and we were not heroes enough (…) to look for better information.”
- Junge in a television interview (see video above).
- Traudl Junge on her reaction to seeing a memorial to Sophie Scholl, a leader of German resistance group die Weiße Rose “The White Rose” (from Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary):
“Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past.
“I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler.
“And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.”
- Traudl Junge on her mixed emotions about working for Hitler (from Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary):
“Our total collapse, the refugees, the suffering – of course I held Hitler responsible for that. His testament, his suicide, that was when I began to hate him. At the same tie I felt great pity, even for him. But when your love for someone, say your partner in marriage, turns to hate, you usually try to preserve the memories of the happy times you first knew.
“I suppose my relationship with Hitler was something like that. He didn’t exert any erotic influence over me, but of course I wanted him to like me. He was a kindly paternal figure, he game me a feeling of security, solicitude, for me, safety.
“I felt protected there in the Führer headquarters in the middle of that forest, in that community, with that “father figure”.
“I can still look back to that time with warm emotions. I never again felt that I belonged anywhere in just the same way”.
- Traudl Junge on hearing about the German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad (from Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary):
“That evening Hitler seemed a tired old man. I don’t remember what we talked about, but a dismal image has stayed in my memory, rather like visiting a bleak graveyard in the November rain.”
Written by C. Anderson, 2011. Last updated 2011.
• Until the final hour: Hitler's last secretary, 2002, Traudi Junge, Melissa Müller (partly available to read online at Google Books here.
• Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary, (2002) documentary film
• Downfall (film), 2004
• Hitler's final witness, BBC, 2002
• The Age article
• The Line
• Traudl Junge photo: colored by GuddiPoland
• Traudl Junge 1945, with Hans Junge: Until the Final Hour
• Alexandra Maria Lara as Junge pic © Constantin Film
Unless otherwise stated, all photos used on the page Traudl Junge are, to our knowledge, in the public domain. If you think otherwise, please let us know.