Surviving Hitler: A Love Story


Surviving Hitler: A Love Story

Documentary about a Jewish teenager and a soldier who joined a doomed plot to kill Hitler but survived to outwit Nazi terror and become the first couple married in post-war Berlin.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

If you're young, you do all sorts of things...

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that you might not do ten years later.

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Helmuth I met when I was 14 - and he was 15 - at a dancing school.

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Mother got this - I'll never forget it - dress which was French,

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had long sleeves and was short to the knee.

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I must have looked very nice in it.

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I wasn't sure how I looked at all. I was very unsure of myself.

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He was a very good dancer and I liked to dance very much.

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And we danced all night long

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until one very pretty girl came up to him and said,

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"If you don't stop dancing with this girl,

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"I will never kiss you again."

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I was thrilled to see that he continued to dance with me.

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And we danced the entire evening.

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Helmuth was very good looking,

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which made me very suspicious of him.

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And he declared that he fell in love with my then,

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but I didn't know what that was and I didn't take it seriously.

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We then did not see each other again for years.

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I was 13 when Hitler took office.

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The first change that I noticed happened at school.

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My classroom teacher handed out a stack of envelopes and said,

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"Have your parents fill this out and bring it back tomorrow."

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It was a note that instructed my parents

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to let the school know if I was Aryan or Jewish.

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Being 5'10", having the blonde hair

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and looking like the prototype of Hitler's Germanic vision,

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I didn't think there was anything Jewish about me at that time.

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At dinner, I handed my parents the envelope

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and they grew silent.

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My father explained it to me.

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My mother's parents had been Jewish,

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but then had converted to Christianity.

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My immediate response was, "So what's the big deal?"

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According to the Nuremberg Race Laws, my mother was Jewish...

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..and therefore I was a half-Jew.

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That meant I could not marry or go to university.

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It made me very angry,

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because everything was made impossible for me.

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You know, the two things that girls of that age think about,

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at least in my generation,

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was either to get married or go to college.

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And I couldn't do either.

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My story is really not a Holocaust story,

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because my father was not Jewish.

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Yet Hitler labelled me

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and I was determined to do whatever I could to get back at him.

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The high school teachers were very good teachers.

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But in the Nazi time, we got this terrible man.

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He was a top SS Nazi.

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One day when I didn't do my homework the SS man pulled me aside.

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He said, "As of tomorrow, you will come to my office for a week

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"and you will stand in front of my door

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"and raise you arm in the Hitler salute for half an hour."

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My father was furious.

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He called up a doctor friend and we wrapped my right arm in a cast.

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I arrived the next day in a sling and said,

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"Sorry, it seems I can't raise my arm.

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"Would you like me to salute with my left arm?"

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The SS man was furious, but there was nothing he could do.

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I was very naughty.

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And powerful.

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And stupid.

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My parents suggested that I get out of the country,

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so that I could I perhaps go to university

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or do something out there as long as they could still give me money.

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I was 18 going on 19 when I left.

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My mother called.

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I could hear fear in her voice.

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She was choking up and she told me not to come home to Berlin.

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That "Auntie" is crazy.

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She's impossible to live with.

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And that we don't know what to do with "Auntie".

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Telephones were already tapped and we always spoke in code.

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In our family, "Auntie" was our code name for Hitler.

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It was 1939, September.

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And it was then that the war began.

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ARTILLERY FIRE

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RUMBLING EXPLOSIONS

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-NEWSREEL:

-'Adolf Hitler's all-out attack on Poland

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'makes the long dreaded European war a certainty.'

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Sitting in Switzerland, where I could read all of it,

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hear all of it -

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it was even worse because we knew everything.

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I knew that the persecution of the Jews was getting worse each month

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and that my mother was in danger.

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And I knew that my father could no longer get out of Germany.

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My parents were already older - my mother was 38 when she had me.

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I was the one to help them.

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So I took the train and returned home without anybody's permission.

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I entered a war zone.

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Life in Berlin had changed during my time away.

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Big changes.

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THE SOLDIERS CHANT

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IN GERMAN:

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The SS would round up Jews on occasion.

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And when they did, an Aryan friend,

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who worked at the Propaganda Ministry, tipped us off.

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And we would leave town for a few days.

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It was during one such pogrom

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that my parents and I left to go skiing for Christmas.

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Around four in the afternoon, I quit skiing

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and joined my parents for hot chocolate at a lovely hotel.

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There was dancing and music and, to my amazement, even American jazz.

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Amongst the young officers on furlough,

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I saw my friend, Helmuth, standing.

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He seemed very happy to see me and, of course, we danced.

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The next day, I skied with Helmuth

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but realised almost immediately that he was not a good skier.

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He spent most of his time falling,

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yet remained unbelievably good-natured.

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The next morning, I called to invite him to our house.

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And his mum picked up the phone and screamed,

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"Jutta, what have you done?!"

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She told me that Helmuth was covered in black and blues

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and in no condition to speak to me.

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Just then, Helmuth grabbed the phone

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and said that he would love to see me.

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I guess his mother was just being protective.

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We spent the day walking through town.

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And we talked about old times, mutual friends,

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and not much about politics.

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He told me that he had seen me all my life and always wanted me.

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I think you could call it a crush.

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He was very good looking and a really good person,

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and a bright one, which is a nice combination.

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Sometimes, you have one or the other

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but I feel I had absolutely everything.

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TRAIN HORN BLARES

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After the holidays, Helmuth joined a unit at the front

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and we agreed to stay in touch.

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It was honourable to fight for one's country

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and he assumed it was the proper thing to do.

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-HELMUTH:

-'Dear Jutta.

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'Isn't it fabulous that I'm writing to you again today?

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-'At least

-I

-think so.

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'Yet since I dreamed of you again last night,

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'I consider it a necessity.

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'I will make it my custom to write whenever I dream of you.

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'Who knows how much longer I will be able to dream?

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'Fondly, Helmuth.'

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-NEWSREELS:

-'The leaders of Nazi Germany

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'shifted their war machine into high gear.'

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'Nazis are marching ahead at the fastest speed

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'a conquering army has moved in all history.'

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'Nazi Stuka dive bombers

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'are strafing and bombing thousands of helpless women and children.'

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'The first great phase of the war in the west

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'has been won by Germany.'

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Each night, my parents and I pulled the shades in the house.

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We huddled around the radio and kept the volume low.

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-RADIO:

-'This effort of the Germans...'

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We listened to the BBC. It was considered a treasonous act.

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There were quite a few Germans who were against Hitler,

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which is one of the reasons that I talk about it.

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Because so often people think that everybody was a Nazi.

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There were a lot of very good Germans who were very sad

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about what was happening to their country.

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We met in small groups called tea circles,

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where we openly discussed the situation in German

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and felt that nothing would ever change

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unless one did something about it.

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I had good friends.

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I had wonderful friends.

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Helmuth saw first-hand the cruelty of Hitler's orders.

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He and his artillery unit were told to bomb soft targets

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such as Russian towns filled with women and children.

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He and those in his unit refused

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and gave the order to everybody to shoot away from where people lived

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so that they had a chance to go and hide.

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But after that warning shot,

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they were forced to adjust their aim and aim for the town centre.

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More and more injured soldiers spilled back into Berlin.

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For me, it meant that my friends returned home.

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Werner von Haeften was sent back from the war in Africa,

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having suffered a terrible wound.

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At the time when the Jewish question was so important,

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he was one of my biggest helpers.

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And he was certainly against Hitler.

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KNOCK ON DOOR

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One evening, Werner von Haeften came to our house to ask a favour.

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A dangerous favour.

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He asked us whether or not we would be willing to hide a man

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who was looked for by the Gestapo.

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And my father said, "This is entirely dependent on my wife.

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"I can't expect her to say yes to that."

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Werner felt badly, in a way, that he was asking us.

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He said, "We are desperate.

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"This man knows all of our names,

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"all of the names of people who are actively against Hitler.

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"And if he is caught, it will be dreadful."

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And so we harboured a fugitive.

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Gehre was a nervous wreck and he was worn down.

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We'd find him smoking cigarettes in our garden,

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right under the windows of our neighbours, who were ardent Nazis.

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His behaviour was erratic and dangerous.

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But it was very difficult to smuggle someone out of the country.

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So he stayed with us much longer than anticipated.

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-HELMUTH:

-'My dear Jutta. You won't believe it, I am still alive.

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'The last two months were absolute shit.'

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EXPLOSION

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'No-one would have guessed that we would still be fighting in Russia at this late date.

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'Our chances for an end are diminishing,

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'while our hopes for an end increase.

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'To be so alone, knowing that you are so far away,

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'is really insufferable.

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'I kiss your mouth, your face and I believe in you.

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'Helmuth.'

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As the Germans withdrew, a shell burst right next to him

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and cut through his lower arm but didn't kill him.

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Helmuth made the long journey back to Germany,

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where he began his slow recovery.

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Now I saw a side of him that I'd never seen before.

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His blind optimism turned more serious.

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The war had changed him.

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-HELMUTH:

-'Dearest Jutta.

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'I am, for once, lying on my bed on my tummy to write to you.

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'I hope you can read my still-awful writing -

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'I am trying to use my left hand.

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'In such days, everything seems to come together -

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'fever, horrid pain with medication

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'that does not do a thing to make me feel better.

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'I have to get 100% well to be my old self once more.

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'I hope you can come visit me soon.

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'Please. Do it soon.'

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Each time we saw each other,

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Helmuth urged me to tell him more about the political situation.

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Details that had been kept from the soldiers.

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I just felt that he needed to know.

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He had no clue.

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CHEERING

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'..in order to hold one nation together,

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'as we have seen under Hitler,'

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There had already been multiple attempts on Hitler's life.

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But time and time again, it was a military oath that prevented mutiny.

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Und sind trotzdem Soldaten...

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THEY PLAY A FANFARE

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# Wir sind die Manner vom Bauernstand... #

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Many officers felt that regardless of how much they disapproved of Hitler,

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they had sworn their allegiance to him

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and once they had given their word, that was final.

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There is something, which is very Germanic, of that generation

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of honour to the point of destruction.

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-HELMUTH:

-'Mein Liebling, meine Seele.

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'There is a lot of defiance in that that we have to muster.

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'We can do it, despite everything.'

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He begged me to find a job where he might do something against Hitler.

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There was one person I knew

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who was deeply involved in a military plot to kill Hitler.

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I didn't know the details, of course.

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I broached the subject with Werner von Haeften over dinner.

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He had never met Helmuth before and his first reaction was to say,

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"How do I know he's not a spy and can be trusted?"

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Werner had always been easy-going.

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But on that night, I saw him deadly serious.

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He was wearing a uniform and a revolver.

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And that's something he never did.

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Who wears a gun to dinner?

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Even in Berlin, no-one did that.

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So I teased him and said, "Do you plan on shooting someone tonight?"

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He looked me straight in the eyes and said,

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"These are dangerous times."

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And that was enough for me not to ask any more questions.

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I knew something was up.

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Werner met Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in 1943.

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They shared their profound hatred for Hitler

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and decided that the only way to stop Hitler was to kill him.

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'The plot itself was under the name "Walkure"

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'and, of course, top secret.

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'Hitler himself had authorised Walkure,

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'yet he had no idea that it was a cover-up for his own assassination.

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'Stauffenberg and other anti-Hitler military officers

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'expanded upon Valkyrie to make it the secret plan

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'for the Resistance to take control of the armed forces

0:23:510:23:55

'and install a government that would end the war

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'and undo Nazi policies.'

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IN GERMAN:

0:24:000:24:03

'So often, I am terribly frightened that I could lose you.

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'Unimaginable.

0:24:110:24:12

'You have to try and protect yourself,

0:24:120:24:15

'so not to destroy our happiness.

0:24:150:24:16

'It no longer is only your life or that of your parents.

0:24:170:24:22

'You have to think about our future, the beauty of our love.

0:24:220:24:27

'Promise me to be careful.

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'Even difficult times pass to make room for better and happier ones,

0:24:310:24:35

'those full of joy and without constant fear.'

0:24:350:24:39

In 1944, Helmuth left the hospital in Frankfurt

0:24:470:24:50

and moved into our house in Berlin.

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We had very nice evenings at my parents' house

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and sometimes we would go out, but there wasn't a lot of that

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because he didn't come back until the terrible bombing.

0:25:000:25:04

You had bombing during the day and bombing at night,

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you know, and nowhere to go, really,

0:25:080:25:10

other than to be glad that your house was still standing.

0:25:100:25:14

So this was not a time for dates.

0:25:140:25:17

'Haeften came to my office and told me

0:25:310:25:33

'that, sometime in the near future, he might call on me.

0:25:330:25:37

'He made a remark to the effect that, well, maybe sometime

0:25:370:25:41

'Hitler will be dead or will be killed or something like that.

0:25:410:25:45

'That was about the only indication which clicked with me immediately

0:25:470:25:51

'that something was very close, something was going to happen.'

0:25:510:25:56

He would not speak to me about what he was doing

0:25:560:25:59

or about what was going on.

0:25:590:26:00

And he sent me and my mother away so we would be out of the way.

0:26:000:26:05

So we went into the mountains.

0:26:050:26:07

And then this happened.

0:26:090:26:12

PLANE ENGINE DRONES

0:26:130:26:16

EXPLOSION

0:27:180:27:20

And everything fell apart.

0:27:290:27:33

By then, they realised that the plot was doomed.

0:29:000:29:03

Van Haeften pulled Helmuth aside.

0:29:130:29:15

He knew that Helmuth and I were in love.

0:29:150:29:19

And he told Helmuth to save himself, to leave the building.

0:29:190:29:23

Haeften and Stauffenberg were shot that same evening.

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They were the heroes who said, "Yes, we did it.

0:29:310:29:34

"We wanted to have a better country. And you have ruined it."

0:29:340:29:38

That was their goodbye.

0:29:380:29:40

GUNSHOTS

0:29:400:29:42

He didn't want to endanger me, so he spent the entire night

0:30:000:30:05

burning all of our photographs and love letters.

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Anything which might show that he and I were a couple.

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It's ironic that he had to erase our past...

0:30:180:30:23

..in order for us to have a future.

0:30:240:30:27

-HELMUTH:

-'July 21st, 1944, 4am.

0:30:330:30:37

'Dearest, I cannot write a lot tonight.

0:30:390:30:42

'There is much to think about to put things in order.

0:30:420:30:46

'Who knows whether we will see each other again and when.

0:30:500:30:54

'In the next few hours, we will have to say goodbye to each other,

0:30:540:30:58

'to everything, and maybe forever.

0:30:580:31:01

'There will never be a greater love than ours, or one more tragic.

0:31:020:31:06

'Goodbye. I love you more than ever, H.'

0:31:070:31:12

So the next day he reported to work at the Bendlerblock as usual

0:31:220:31:28

and played innocent,

0:31:280:31:31

but was promptly arrested.

0:31:310:31:32

Those who conspired against Hitler now faced his wrath.

0:31:420:31:47

Every day, somebody you knew was arrested.

0:31:470:31:50

Gehre, the man we had hidden,

0:31:520:31:54

buckled under the additional pressure.

0:31:540:31:56

He lost his nerve and left his hiding place

0:31:560:32:00

and shot himself, and missed.

0:32:000:32:02

He only shot himself blind.

0:32:040:32:07

For him to be caught was a disaster.

0:32:080:32:13

He knew everything - our names, our address.

0:32:130:32:17

TYRES SQUEAL

0:32:170:32:19

On October 4th, the Gestapo had arrested my parents.

0:32:190:32:24

I arrived home, no light.

0:32:250:32:28

Nobody was there and on the floor, there was no message.

0:32:290:32:34

I was, naturally, a wreck. I kept thinking what to do next.

0:32:360:32:41

I ran out of the house for fear that the Gestapo would return and arrest me.

0:32:410:32:46

And then I hid for two weeks.

0:32:460:32:48

And it's terribly scary...

0:32:500:32:52

..because you have no idea what's going to happen to you.

0:32:540:32:57

It was fall of 1944.

0:33:000:33:02

Germany was losing the war on both fronts,

0:33:020:33:06

yet Hitler focused a great deal on the swift justice against the conspirators.

0:33:060:33:11

He created the so-called People's Court.

0:33:120:33:16

The court was presided by Mr Freisler, an absolute devil.

0:33:190:33:23

And blood was flowing in that court.

0:33:230:33:27

HE SHOUTS IN GERMAN:

0:33:270:33:29

On the 15th October,

0:34:070:34:09

Helmuth was going to be called before the People's Court.

0:34:090:34:13

And all of those people were damned to death.

0:34:130:34:17

I was sure that my mother would be gassed

0:34:200:34:25

and my father would be dead.

0:34:250:34:28

I didn't think I would see anybody ever again.

0:34:280:34:31

In a war, you become sort of, um...

0:34:350:34:38

You either become terribly afraid

0:34:390:34:41

or you say, "To hell with it" and continue.

0:34:410:34:45

And I'm afraid I'm the number two.

0:34:460:34:49

I was not going to cave in.

0:34:520:34:54

And if it weren't for the love affair,

0:34:550:34:57

I probably would have been a chicken.

0:34:570:35:00

I knew that the Gestapo was looking for me

0:35:150:35:19

and so I stayed one step ahead.

0:35:190:35:21

I'd go from friend to friend's house in the middle of the night,

0:35:230:35:27

the whole time I thought about

0:35:270:35:29

how I could help my parents and Helmuth survive.

0:35:290:35:32

I had really only two options.

0:35:330:35:37

One was for me to run away from Germany and go to Switzerland.

0:35:370:35:41

The other option was to turn myself in.

0:35:420:35:45

On October 14th, 1944,

0:35:530:35:55

I walked down to the Gestapo headquarters on Prinz-Albert-Strasse.

0:35:560:36:00

Once inside the building, I lost all fear.

0:36:050:36:09

I was in a strange mood, almost excited.

0:36:090:36:13

I was put into a small and miserable interview chamber and in came...

0:36:170:36:22

Stawitzky was his name.

0:36:220:36:25

"Why do you come to us?"

0:36:250:36:28

And I said, "I'm looking for my parents."

0:36:290:36:31

He stared me straight in the eyes

0:36:330:36:35

and wouldn't break eye contact even for a second.

0:36:350:36:38

I suddenly realised how much danger I was in.

0:36:390:36:43

"I can tell you where your parents are. They are arrested."

0:36:450:36:49

I said, "Why?"

0:36:500:36:52

Warum halten nicht Ihre Fragen?

0:36:530:36:55

He said, "You don't ask the questions, shut up."

0:36:550:36:58

He said, "Where have you been? We've been looking for you."

0:37:000:37:04

And he pulled out a mugshot.

0:37:040:37:08

He would say to you things like,

0:37:080:37:11

"Just you wait what we do to your mother

0:37:110:37:13

"and your father is already blabbing," kind of things,

0:37:130:37:17

trying to break me down.

0:37:170:37:19

And he was a simple, nasty piece of work.

0:37:210:37:25

One of the most awful fellows of the Gestapo,

0:37:260:37:29

who wanted to trip you up with the first thing you said

0:37:290:37:33

and then turn everything around.

0:37:330:37:35

And it became sort of a fight to keep my wits about me.

0:37:350:37:40

And with that, I was locked up in solitary confinement.

0:37:420:37:46

I knew I wanted to live.

0:37:580:38:00

But did my parents want the same? Did Helmuth?

0:38:010:38:06

EXPLOSIONS

0:38:210:38:22

DISTANT EXPLOSIONS

0:38:270:38:32

As every prisoner did, I etched a calendar in the stucco wall

0:38:320:38:37

and I watched time pass.

0:38:370:38:39

I was in a single cell for one person,

0:38:410:38:46

which was, probably...

0:38:460:38:48

The width was probably from here to there.

0:38:490:38:53

And there was a wooden bed that would fall down

0:38:530:38:57

and it had all sorts of nice creatures living in it.

0:38:570:39:01

There seemed to be so little hope.

0:39:030:39:05

It was either in November or December when I was taken back

0:39:110:39:14

to the Gestapo headquarters for a second interrogation.

0:39:140:39:19

And he was sitting there, grinning at me

0:39:200:39:23

and said, "We have a surprise for you."

0:39:230:39:26

And somebody came in, crawling on all fours

0:39:300:39:34

and I realised it was Gehre, the man we had hidden.

0:39:340:39:39

He could no longer walk and he could hardly speak,

0:39:400:39:43

so he must have been tortured beyond the pale as many of them were.

0:39:430:39:49

He was no longer a human being.

0:39:520:39:54

It was just like an animal.

0:39:550:39:58

His first question was, "I'm sure he had a very nice time in your house."

0:40:000:40:06

And I just managed to say, "What are you talking about? Who is this?"

0:40:060:40:14

"I know you are a traitor of the German Reich," he screamed.

0:40:160:40:20

To which I remained silent.

0:40:220:40:24

And after an hour and a half of this interrogation,

0:40:250:40:29

Gehre was rolled back

0:40:290:40:32

and I was led out without having admitted to anything at all.

0:40:320:40:37

I decided to act sick.

0:40:480:40:49

That would give me regular medical visits from a doctor

0:40:510:40:54

and maybe the doctor would help me send and receive

0:40:540:40:57

information from the outside.

0:40:570:40:59

He agreed to help me communicate with the outside world.

0:41:020:41:06

So there was a band of information.

0:41:060:41:08

And that was wonderful for me, I had an idea where everybody was.

0:41:100:41:15

'I had joined a work squad in my prison

0:41:160:41:19

'in order to move some of the rubble against the basement windows.

0:41:190:41:23

'People who were in this work squad

0:41:250:41:27

'were considered less dangerous by our young guards.

0:41:270:41:31

'And that made at least my life more bearable.'

0:41:310:41:34

I didn't get details, but I heard that Helmuth was alive.

0:41:360:41:41

I heard that my father was alive.

0:41:410:41:44

But it was news of my mother that made my heart stop.

0:41:440:41:48

I heard that my mother had been brought to a concentration camp.

0:41:570:42:02

Ravensbruck was its name.

0:42:020:42:05

By then, we knew what happened to Jews in concentration camps.

0:42:080:42:13

-NEWSREEL:

-'Over the White House at Washington,

0:42:140:42:17

'the flag flies at half-staff as a grief-stricken nation

0:42:170:42:21

'mourns the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

0:42:210:42:24

'President of the United States.'

0:42:240:42:26

On April 12th, 1945, President Roosevelt died.

0:42:270:42:32

There was great excitement among the SS prison guards,

0:42:330:42:38

because they believed Hitler's propaganda

0:42:380:42:40

that America would bow out of the war and Germany would be victorious.

0:42:400:42:45

But it was the following day that the prison medic

0:42:470:42:51

injected me with the last placebo injection.

0:42:510:42:55

And his face was beaming.

0:42:550:42:57

He claimed to have the most extraordinary news.

0:42:580:43:02

My mother had been released.

0:43:040:43:07

I was stunned.

0:43:080:43:10

I couldn't...

0:43:100:43:12

I just couldn't stop asking.

0:43:120:43:15

He said he didn't know very much,

0:43:150:43:17

but two SS people had delivered her in Berlin.

0:43:170:43:22

From that moment on, I was sure that we somehow would make it.

0:43:230:43:27

The two of us, at least, would make it.

0:43:290:43:31

ARTILLERY FIRE

0:43:440:43:46

-NEWSREEL:

-'The last flaming hours for a doomed city.

0:43:460:43:49

'Berlin, once mighty metropolis of a proud nation,

0:43:490:43:52

'now crumbles under the merciless pounding of Russian artillery.'

0:43:520:43:56

First, you bomb everything out as much as you can.

0:43:590:44:02

And then comes silence.

0:44:020:44:05

It's this eerie silence - nothing, no sound.

0:44:080:44:11

And then, suddenly, you hear sounds of the big boots.

0:44:110:44:15

FOOTSTEPS POUND

0:44:150:44:16

And then you know they're coming.

0:44:160:44:18

GUNFIRE

0:44:230:44:25

The Battle of Berlin was one of the bloodiest battles in history.

0:44:300:44:34

People were dying everywhere.

0:44:350:44:38

Even Hitler himself had committed suicide and lay dead in a bunker.

0:44:380:44:43

We could hear the explosions get closer and closer to our prison.

0:44:470:44:51

There were very few of us left and we were all political prisoners.

0:44:550:44:59

So we kicked and kicked against the door and we said to them,

0:44:590:45:05

"If you don't let us out,

0:45:050:45:07

"we will make sure that you get killed by the Russians.

0:45:070:45:10

"You can hear them already, you know they are coming."

0:45:100:45:13

And, finally, they opened the door.

0:45:130:45:15

Finally I made it to the Hedyekampf house and there I found my mother.

0:45:410:45:45

My mother looked pitiful.

0:45:510:45:54

She was just skin and bones.

0:45:540:45:56

She only weighed 75 pounds, but it was a wonderful get-together.

0:45:560:46:03

We were in each other's arms for a long time.

0:46:030:46:08

And she felt like a bird.

0:46:080:46:10

DISTANT GUNFIRE AND EXPLOSIONS

0:46:240:46:28

The Russian soldiers were roaring drunk for an entire evening.

0:46:320:46:37

Totally out of control of their officers,

0:46:370:46:41

those who were not also drunk.

0:46:410:46:43

It was a disaster.

0:46:430:46:45

We didn't know what the Russians would do

0:46:450:46:48

other than they would come in and leave with women on hand.

0:46:480:46:51

And during that time, it was from one rape to another,

0:46:530:46:56

whether you were a grandmother, a young girl, or a child.

0:46:560:47:00

One evening, a young Russian officer found us in the basement.

0:47:070:47:12

He saw me and said, "Frau, komm mit."

0:47:120:47:16

So I did something, the only thing I could think of.

0:47:180:47:21

I was wonderful at being cross-eyed,

0:47:210:47:24

and made terrible gurgling and howling noise.

0:47:240:47:29

Moaning and, "Urrgh," and was as revolting as I could be,

0:47:290:47:35

like, throwing up, and all sorts of dreadful sounds.

0:47:350:47:38

He thought I was sick and moved away immediately,

0:47:390:47:44

because the Russians were terribly afraid of diseases.

0:47:440:47:48

The majority of the women in Berlin were not so lucky.

0:47:490:47:52

I had heard that my father had the last hearing

0:47:580:48:02

of the People's Court on April 23rd.

0:48:020:48:05

I was told that he had been condemned to death

0:48:060:48:11

for listening to the radio.

0:48:110:48:15

As far as Helmuth was concerned,

0:48:180:48:22

I loved him, and I thought of him constantly.

0:48:220:48:27

And I talked to him in my mind,

0:48:270:48:30

but I didn't think I would ever see him again.

0:48:300:48:33

My mother and I were depressed in many ways.

0:48:360:48:41

We had lost the men of our lives.

0:48:410:48:44

The door opened.

0:48:530:48:55

As we looked around, it wasn't a Russian soldier.

0:48:550:48:59

It was my father.

0:48:590:49:01

He walked in, looking as if he had just come from the golf course,

0:49:010:49:05

in somebody else's coat, well-fed.

0:49:050:49:11

It was an unbelievable, wonderful sight.

0:49:110:49:14

He had awaited execution when the Russians stormed the prison,

0:49:150:49:20

killed all the guards,

0:49:200:49:22

and let my father and all the prisoners go free.

0:49:220:49:26

Of course, you can imagine how happy everybody was.

0:49:290:49:34

We were standing there, completely overwhelmed, talking,

0:49:340:49:40

when - five minutes later - the door opens again.

0:49:400:49:43

And in walks Helmuth.

0:49:440:49:46

-NEWSREEL:

-'War in Europe has ended.

0:50:000:50:02

'The hour for which the world has been six years waiting has come.

0:50:020:50:06

'Unconditionally and finally, our German enemy has surrendered

0:50:060:50:10

'to Russia, to Britain and her Commonwealth,

0:50:100:50:12

'to America, to the people of all free nations.'

0:50:120:50:15

It was the first wedding in Berlin, as it turned out.

0:50:350:50:39

We looked like lovers, I'm sure,

0:50:530:50:55

but we didn't look like the usual bridal pair,

0:50:550:50:58

because we were so funnily dressed -

0:50:580:51:00

he had borrowed a suit that belonged to one of my other friends,

0:51:000:51:04

who was much bigger in all directions.

0:51:040:51:06

And I didn't have anything bridal.

0:51:080:51:10

I had found an old piece of lace

0:51:100:51:14

that I wrapped somehow around my head.

0:51:140:51:17

And he had cut a wonderful bouquet for me

0:51:170:51:21

of flowers that he found in a bombed-out garden.

0:51:210:51:24

It was just a great moment.

0:51:260:51:28

I think what makes our story unique is that there are four people

0:51:360:51:40

and all in different places under these circumstances.

0:51:400:51:44

None of us were injured. All four of use came together in one piece.

0:51:450:51:52

That is extraordinary, isn't it?

0:51:530:51:55

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:53:420:53:45

A Jewish teenager and an injured soldier join a doomed plot to kill Hitler. They face almost certain death, yet luck and love shine upon them as they outwit Nazi terror and become the first couple married in post-war Berlin. Narrated by the former teenager herself and featuring the original footage shot by her sweetheart, their story would sound like a pitch for a Hollywood blockbuster were it not all true. A harrowing tale of war, resistance, love and survival - and, miraculously, a happy ending.


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