A cruel game by Hitler’s favourite filmmaker, exposed

    HISTORY: Nina Gladitz’s film about Roma and Sinti survivors of Shoah has been hidden in the WDR archive since 1982. Reactions to her book show we live in times when searching for the truth and giving voice to the weakest in societysociety causes suspicion, not respect. But simply accepting that such are the times might be the real problem.

    Nina Gladitz’ book about the celebrated Nazi film director Leni Riefenstahl had challenged the idea that Riefenstahl was a genial artist with poor political wisdom. The book is a result of a decades-long investigation Gladitz started as a preparation for the film she shot with Roma and Sinti survivors of Shoah and was first broadcasted by WDR in September 1982. The film’s subjects, Josef Reinhard, his relatives and other Roma and Sinti families, mostly mothers with children, were personally recruited by Riefenstahl in a Nazi camp near Salzburg, forced to work as extras during the shooting of Riefenstahl’s film Lowland (Tiefland) and afterwards murdered by Nazis. Those who testified in Gladitz’ film were the few who managed to survive. Gladitz was the first who give them the possibility to publicly speak about their horrible experiences and the cruelty of Riefenstahl. But Riefenstahl took Gladitz to court, claiming that these . . .

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    Melita Zajc
    Our regular contributor. Zajc is a media anthropologist and philosopher.

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