Hitler’s Filmmaker Riefenstahl Dies at 101
BERLIN (Reuters) – Adolf Hitler’s filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, the last of Germany’s famous Nazi-era figures, has died weeks after turning 101, the mayor of the town where she lived said on Tuesday.
“The registry office has been told of the death of Frau Riefenstahl,” Rainer Schnitzler, mayor of Poecking, told Reuters. Riefenstahl had a house near the Starnberger See lake south of Munich.
Earlier, Celia Tremper, a journalist for Bunte magazine who said she has close links with Riefenstahl, said: “Frau Riefenstahl died without pain, she fell asleep in her bed on Monday night.”
Riefenstahl, whose films of a Nazi party rally and the 1936 Berlin Olympics brought her prewar fame and postwar notoriety, had been too sick to give interviews or make media appearances in recent months.
Riefenstahl won awards at the Venice and Paris film festivals in the 1930s for her “Triumph of the Will,” a documentary highlighting the meticulously choreographed, eerie grandeur of the Nazi Party’s 1934 Nuremberg Rally.
She was then commissioned to make the official film of the 1936 Olympics. “Olympia” pioneered techniques such as mounting the camera on electric cars on rails to follow races.
Since the war, those films have haunted her, and she remained a villain to many for declining to apologize for them. Critics have accused her of failing to own up to being associated with the Nazis.
Riefenstahl always denied political involvement with the Nazi party or any romantic link with Hitler, although she admitted admiring him and seeking him out for a meeting in 1932.