Germany had high inflation, and great powerty in 1930es. One egg cost 3.000.000.000 German Marks (then currency). Then came National Socialistic party, and changed all. Thay stopped poverty, made jobs for people, raised again German national pride, etc... It is normal for German artist, or any other citizen, to trust government who made better life. And not to ask question what is price of that better life. We know what was the price, but I don't think many Germans asked that question in those times...
I don't defend her, but we must know in what situation Germany and German people were then to understand why Leni did what she did.
I mean: How many Spanish and Portugese thought what happens with native Americans when they followed Columbo to America, how many British thought what was going on with Aborigins during British colonisation of Australia, how many good Christians thought what was going on with non Christians when misionars go to America, Asia, Africa, etc...
Why should Leni question what her government do if that government get her and her nation up from powerty an misery. And when such government offered her job, she had no reason to reject it...
Human nature, you know...
Human nature? Dissent is as old as government. Not everyone buys the story, not everyone goes with the herd.
Wouldn't be great if we could ignore human achievements because of criminal or inmoral nature of their creators. What would world look like, then. Better?
And because those are so rare we make books, movies, ballads of them. Those heroes stays remembered in history because of theire glorious death, rest goes as the wind blows...
Originally Posted by Helen B
Dissent is much easier when it will not get you killed.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
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Why Leni didn't escape from Germany? I don't know.
Why all beaten women don't escape from home where they are beaten. Because of children, because they don't have nowhere to go, etc... Some of them stay and contine to make meals and wash laundry for husbands who beats them. Are those women to blame?
"- didn't Hitler hate the Olympics in the end because he wanted them to show that the Aryan Race was superior in all ways, which they obviously weren't and he hated Jesse Owens because he was such a superior athlete. If I remember correctly, he hated this photograph (correct me if I'm wrong). You could say the message of the photograph runs counter to Nazi ideals. Hilter was an out-an-out racist, not the sort who thought that black people were O.K. as athletes....And this photograph stands as a powerful celebration of Jesse Owens..."
Wasn't this photo taken right after Jesse Owens refused to lower the U.S. flag to Adolf Hitler, when every other country had done so? To glorify the man who had publicly insulted Hilter in front of the world would not have earned her any brownie points.
Is this the greatest sports photo? No, that would be:Ali - Liston
Helen B , I think Leni Riefenstahl's motives were considerably more personal and complex than goose-stepping to the party line.
Just a opinion.
"Helen B , I think Leni Riefenstahl's motives were considerably more personal and complex than goose-stepping to the party line."
I agree. Where have I suggested that she was simply goose-stepping to the party line?
Sorry, maybe I just read it that way.
Have a nice weekend people.
I grew up on post-WWII America in NYC. I went to Catholic schools in an era when that Church was searching its soul (remember Pope John XXIII?) as it contemplated how The Holocaust could have occurred. How could such a civilized people as the Germans have descended into such barbarism? How complicit had been the Church and how should it deal with its consequent responsibility?
That period of reflection so informed my education that I can never "divorce" an artist like Leni R. from how she used her talent.
Subsequent genocidal atrocities like Cambodia in the 1970's, Rwanda in the 1990's or Darfur today are irrelevant to me in creating some sort of moral relativism about what occurred in The Holocaust. Later evil does not excuse, nor explain away, what occurred in Germany in that period if only because, in my admittedly Western conceit, I would have expected much better from the Germans than any of those others!
That the people of Goethe, Beethoven and Kant (for example) could have descended into such barbarism is - on reflection - a frightening indictment of humanity.
In conclusion to my input to this thread, that some talented Germans such as Leni R. were willing to allow their gifts to be used to glorify a descent into such barbarism is, to me, totally inexcusable. Many talented Germans left that country in the 1930's rather than submit their gifts to advance the evil cause of Hitler and the Nazis. Leni R. chose to stay and benefit from doing so.
I have no respect for her and no reason to regard her work in any kind of positive light. There are limits - she crossed them.