Quote Originally Posted by Helen B
I’m not suggesting that someone’s talent should be ignored because of the way they used it. On the contrary, I think that it is important to recognise and never forget that talent may be associated with repugnant ideals, and that repugnant ideals may be promoted by people with talent. I just find it impossible to dissociate talent from the way that it is used or to ignore context. (...)
Helen, hindsight is 20/20. If you don't want to ignore context, you have to be fair and look at the one around the time at which Riefenstahl did her work, not the one that happened later.

There were a lot of people in Germany for whom Hitler was a way to regain the dignity they lost at the Versailles treaty closing the World War, and Riefenstahl was one of them. They were also precipitated in the massive economic crisis of 1929 on top of that. The massacres had not happened. The lampshades weren't a reality. Leaders like Chamberlain, Churchill, and all the other European politicians were still concerned about the "Jewish problem."

For my part, Riefenstahl is not innocent, and she willingly fostered a militaristic regime through her craft. But she never asked for the Zyklon B, nor did she washed herself in human soap with glee. Guilt is a yes/no, but the sentence deserves gradations. Fairness is knowing how far to go. A lot of people in Europe share guilt in the Holocaust, and I'm not just speaking of the Nazis. So let's not make her a poster-girl unwittingly and ignore the rest of the world.