' A German Life', is likely to be the last new movie of its kind: a documentary that presents contemporary testimony from someone who witnessed the inner workings of the Nazi high command. The movie is taken from 30 hours of interviews with Brunhilde Pomsel, who served as secretary to Joseph Goebbels and was 103 when the film was shot (she died in January at 106).Like 'Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary.' which centered on the recollections of Traudi Junge, 'A German Life' lets viewers consider its subject, her anecdotes, body language and face (often shot in close up) and decide how much to believe her. The words of Ms. Pomsel, who is remarkably lucid for a centenarian, are intercut with quotations from Goebbels and archival footage from both sides of the war. Viewers are implicitly invited to ponder the contrast.
"I'm not the kind of person to resist," she says at one point, adding, "I'm one of the cowards." Nothing that nobody believes her, she says she only learned about "the matter of the Jews" when she returned from Russian prison camps after the war. Yet one of the recurring characters in her stories is a Jewish friend, Eva Lowenthal, whom records indicate was deported to Auschwitz and, in 1945, declared dead.
Ms. Pomsel's obituary noted her contradictory statements in this film and other interviews. "I didn't do anything but type in Goebbel's office," she says near the movie's end. "And I had no idea of what was behind all that. Well, very little, anyway."