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Heir donates estate of Hitler's filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, to cultural museum

Leni Riefenstahl always defended her work, saying she knew nothing of Nazi atrocities.

A housekeeper, who refused to be identified, passes by a picture of famous film director Leni Riefenstahl on the wall in Riefenstahl's home in Poecking, south of Munich, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003.
A housekeeper, who refused to be identified, passes by a picture of famous film director Leni Riefenstahl on the wall in Riefenstahl's home in Poecking, south of Munich, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003.
Image: JAN PITMAN via AP

A GERMAN CULTURAL foundation said it has been bequeathed photos, films, manuscripts, letters and files from the estate of Leni Riefenstahl, the legendary filmmaker best known for the propaganda movies she made for Nazi Germany.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation said today that Riefenstahl’s sole heir, her former secretary, donated the complete collection amassed by the filmmaker, who died in 2003.

Her films included “Triumph of the Will,” which recorded the Nazis’ 1934 rally at Nuremberg, and, Olympia, a meditation on muscle and movement at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games.

Riefenstahl always defended her work, saying she knew nothing of Nazi atrocities.

Foundation president Hermann Parzinger says his organisation will treat the material with “a special responsibility for the critical examination of this controversial person of contemporary history”.

Read: Louvre launches new display in hope of reuniting owners with art stolen by Nazis >

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