All right, it's her own words (Leni Riefenshahl, A Memoir), but presumably the facts can be checked: 10,000 DM ($2500) as an out-of-court from Revue magazine c. 1953. They had suggested she was an active Nazi with knowledge of atrocities. If they'd had a hope in hell of proving it they'd not have settled like this, they'd not have settled.

She was born in August 1902 and was therefore in her early 30s when Hitler came to power. Looking back on my own conscience in my early 30s it was probably more flexible than it is today, 25 years later, and I think Leni was better than I at not seeing what she didn't want to see. She was also a lot better at what she did -- cinematography -- and allowed herself to be blinded by her ambition.

My own view is on the 'soft' end. I don't think that what she did was honourable or even necessarily explicable, but equally, I can't accept the view of her as drinking the blood of Jews. Of course I'd like to think I'd have had higher principles, and I sincerely believe that I'd probably have been kicked out of Hitler's Germany, but I cannot put my hand in my heart and swear with absolute confidence that I'd have behaved a lot better than Leni if I'd been allowed to stay.

Perhaps her most damning film is Tiefland (which I have not seen, only read about), and even with that, no-one was ever able to hang serious Nazi charges on her, despite the best attempts of the French (who appealed unsuccessfully against each denazification verdict)

As Michael says, totalitarian regimes are outside the experience of most of us. I've known a few ex-Nazis, but what sticks in my mind is a comment by a friend who joined the Young Communists in Britain in the 1930s: "The Nazis were glamorous: all the uniforms, the parades, the whole bit. If I'd been a German, I can't say I wouldn't have joined. And this is a communist speaking."

Cheers,

Roger