Until the Final Hour

Until the Final Hour : Hitler's Last Secretary

3.93 (2,033 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author)  , Volume editor 

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Traudl Junge (then Humps) was 22 years old and dreamt of a career as a ballerina, until the 'opportunity of her life' beckoned. Adolf Hitler appointed this young secretary to his private office and from 1942 until his death she was at his side in the bunker, typing his correspondence, his speeches and even his last private and political will and testament. 'I was 22 and I didn't know anything about politics, it didn't interest me,' she claims. It was apparently only after the war that this young woman began to realise what had happened and the horrible reality began to dawn on her. She was wracked with guilt for 'liking the greatest criminal ever to have lived.' She'd found him a 'pleasant older man and a good employer'. Her journal, written in 1947, recounts her mostly mundane time typing, making tea, until the coldness of the bunker, the building sense of despair and doom as the war progressed. The journal is topped and tailed with a preface and an afterword, co-written by Melissa Muller, giving the background to the story, the rest of Traudl's unhappy life and her feelings of guilt over her naive actions.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 32mm | 503g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 8 B/W Photo\Illu(s)
  • 0297847201
  • 9780297847205

Review quote

'To have such an uncomplicated, unaffected witness present at some of the key, defining moments of the 20th century was fortunate for historians. Frau Junge's book has sold 100,000 copies in Germany, and it is easy to see why: her testimony rings absolutely true, when other politically motivated accounts of the last days of Hitler do not.' -- Andrew Roberts THE EVENING STANDARD (13.10.03) 'Traudl Junge's memoir is a very unusual, and useful, addition to the canon of literature that seeks to explain Hitler. Junge was at her 'Fuhrer's' side for three years as his trusted secretary, and her fluent account sheds light on what it was like to be a believer in his power.' -- Elena Lappin DAILY TELEGRAPH (19.10.03) 'Junge had a sharp eye for detail and she conveys a good sense of the atmosphere among Hitler's entourage...Junge's memoirs, sandwiched between good editorial insights by Melissa Muller, provide a powerful impression of the deep sense of unreality that envoloped the court of Hitler in its last years.' -- Ian Kershaw MAIL ON SUNDAY (2.11.03) 'Until the Final Hour is a remarkable historical document...But more than this, it is another painful reminder of how it is possible for a person - or even an entire nation - to sleepwalk slowly into sin.' -- Rachel Cooke OBSERVER (9.11.03) 'The unfolding doom, her typing up Luftwaffe losses before skipping off for another Champagne supper with the leader (who preferred mineral water), the claustrophobia within the increasingly fortified bunkers, and eventually the physical and spiritual decline of the Fuhrer as he accepted defeat are grippingly recounted...compelling.' -- Jenny Hjul THE SCOTSMAN (11.10.03) 'There have been countless memoirs of former functionaries of the Nazi regime but this may well be the last, first-hand account from one of Hitler's inner circle, and is possibly the most vivid.' -- Simon Eder JEWISH CHRONICLE (14.11.03) 'Frank and gripping, the book shows another side to the megalomaniacal murderer...A fascinating fly-on-the-wall glimpse at history's most infamous despot, that watches him descend in two and a half years from ultimate power to a feeble, beaten old man.' -- Neville Marten INK MAGAZINE (December '03) '...a moving story of one woman's gradual realisation of her own complicity in the crimes of the Nazis.' JACK (December '03) 'Junge offers fine descriptions...[she] portrays the real character of the Fuhrer's court...a fascinating insight into how ordinary Germans saw Hitler...[she] writes splendidly.' -- David Cesarani LITERARY REVIEW (December 2003) '...a fascinating, feminine view of Hitler's charm, charisma and awfulness...Compelling.' -- Alan Judd SPECTATOR (22.11.03) 'Her account is valuable and intriguing as it gives a close-up view of the Hitler menage in its final years...The book is greatly enriched by an introduction and afterward, as well as by valuable notes from the editor which put this useful record into an historic contect.' CONTEMPORARY REVIEW (1.12.03) 'She [Junge] builds up an impressively detailed picture of Hitler's private lfe, which was a curious combination of Bohemian irregularity and bourgeois monotony.' -- Piers Brendon OLDIE (1.2.04)
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About Traudl Junge

Traudl Junge was a brewer's daughter born in 1920 in Munich. From the end of 1942 until April 1945 she was Hitler's private secretary. In 1942 she married one of Hitler's staff, Hans Junge who was killed a year later. After the war she was sent to a Russian prison camp and later returned to Germany to work as a secretary and a sub-editor. She died on February 10th, 2002 shortly after publication of her book.
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Rating details

2,033 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 29% (584)
4 42% (860)
3 24% (479)
2 4% (89)
1 1% (21)
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