Benjamin, Walter
  Bismarck, Otto v.
  Brecht, Bertolt
  Celan, Paul
  Döblin, Alfred
  Fontane, Theodor
  Grosz, George
  Grünbein, Durs
  Heartfield, John
  Honigmann, Barbara
  Isherwood, Christopher
  Johnson, Uwe
  Kleist, Heinrich v.
  Kollwitz, Käthe
  Kracauer, Siegfried
  Lang, Fritz
  Lasker-Schüler, Else
  Liebermann, Max
  Liebknecht, Karl
  Luxemburg, Rosa
  Marc, Franz
  Ossietzky, Carl v.
  Riefenstahl, Leni
  Ruttmann, Walther
  Schinkel, Karl Friedrich
  Speer, Albert
  Tieck, Ludwig
  Tucholsky, Kurt
  Ury, Lesser
  Varnhagen, Rahel
  Wenders, Wim


Riefenstahl, Leni

b. Aug. 22, 1902, Berlin

original name BERTA HELENE AMALIE RIEFENSTAHL German motion-picture actress, producer, photographer, and director who is best known for her documentary films of the 1930s dramatizing the power and pageantry of the Nazi movement.

Riefenstahl studied painting and ballet in Berlin, and, from 1923 to 1926, she appeared in dance programs throughout Europe. Beginning her motion-picture career as an actress in "mountain films," a type of German film in which nature, especially the mountain landscape, plays an important role, she eventually became a director in the genre. In 1931 she formed a company, Leni Riefenstahl-Produktion, and the following year wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Das blaue Licht (1932; The Blue Light).

With the support of the Nazi Party, she directed films that extolled the values of physical beauty and Aryan superiority. They include ieg des Glaubens (1933; Victory of Faith), a short subject commissioned by Adolf Hitler; Triumph des Willens (1935; Triumph of the Will), an important documentary study of the 1934 Nazi Party Convention at Nürnberg that emphasized the unity of the party, introduced the leaders to the German people, and exhibited Nazi power to the world; and Olympische Spiele (1938; Olympia), a two-part film, Fest der Völker (Festival of the Nations) and Fest der Schönheit (Festival of Beauty), on the Olympic games of 1936 that was praised for the effectiveness of its studio-created music and sound effects. Riefenstahl's films were acclaimed for their rich musical scores, for the cinematic beauty of the scenes of dawn, mountains, and rural German life, and for brilliant editing.

Because her films had aided the Nazi cause, she was blacklisted after World War II. She returned to work in 1952, however, after being officially cleared of complicity in Nazi war crimes, and completed Tiefland ("Lowland"), the production of which had been interrupted by the war. Die Nuba (The Last of the Nuba), a book of her African photographs, was published in 1973.


"Riefenstahl, Leni" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.