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Hitler's favorite director Leni Riefenstahl

FALSE OF HISTORY? / Nina Gladitz challenges the notion that Leni Riefenstahl was an ingenious artist with poor political views. Her documentary about the filmmaker has been hidden in the German WDR archive since 1982. The reactions to Gladitz's book also show how difficult it is to seek truth and give the weakest in society a voice.

Nina Gladitz's (1946–2021) book about the famous Nazi film director Leni Riefenstahl (1902–2003) challenges the notion that Riefenstahl was an ingenious artist with poor political views. The book is the result of an almost lifelong research work that Gladitz began in connection with the TV documentary she made about space and synthesis survivors from the Holocaust – which was broadcast by WDR in September 1982: Time of silence and darkness.

Josef Reinhard, his relatives and other Roma and Sinti families, most of whom were mothers with children, were recruited by Riefenstahl in a Nazi camp near Salzburg and forced to work as extras during the filming of Riefenstahl's film. Tiefland (Lowlands). They were then killed by the Nazis. Those who appeared in Gladitz's documentary were a few who survived.

Riefenstahl made a great effort to eliminate the traces of her commitment to the National Socialist regime she celebrated in the films.

Gladitz was the first to give the survivors the opportunity to tell the public about the horrors they had experienced, and about how cruel it was. . .

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Melita Zajc
Zajc is a media writer, researcher and film critic. She lives and works in Slovenia, Italy and Africa.

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