Girl's meeting with Hitler an important, salutary tale

22:38, Jul 31 2011
Strawberries with the Fuhrer
MUST SEE: Wellington film-maker Amy O'Connor tells the story of Helga Tiscenko's meeting with Hitler.

It's only brief, but Wellington film-maker Amy O'Connor's documentary Strawberries with the Fuhrer has an important and salutary tale to tell.

Helga Tiscenko grew up perhaps only vaguely aware that her father was a powerful and respected man.

Papa was in fact a general in the Waffen SS, exactly the sort of man who might be expected to proudly introduce his pretty nine-year-old daughter to Adolf Hitler, should the Fuhrer be in town.

And so, young Helga met Hitler, presented him with a bouquet of his favourite forget-me-nots, and was invited to stay for afternoon tea.

After the war, Helga married, and in the early 1950s she and her husband emigrated to New Zealand.

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Amy O'Connor's film doesn't dwell too much on Helga's meeting with Hitler, although it did provide her film with a terrific title, but rather asks us to imagine what it was like to grow up surrounded by horrors, but to only become aware of those horrors years later.

This is an intelligent and compassionate piece of film-making, well worth half an hour of your lunch break to catch today.

And Helga's daughter and grand- daughters will be at both screenings.

The details:

Documentary Strawberries with the Fuhrer (30min)

Directed by Amy O'Connor

* * * *

Playing today at the City Gallery, 12.15pm and 1.30pm.

The Dominion Post