Elizabeth G asks on Friday, October 10, 2008, for an explanation on why university students can not be shown the full version of "Triumpoh of the Will"
The Prof. who cut short "Triumph of the Will"
I'M STUDYING German at university, and we watched Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will today.
We only watched part because my professor, who is German, felt a bit ashamed (I could tell). She prefaced the film by saying how it is illegal to own a copy of it in Deutschland, and illegal even to watch it. I must admit Riefenstahl's "Will" is quite amazing, and I can see where it could incite the masses in Germany.
My question to you, as an author with firsthand knowledge, what is the difference between burning books, as the Nazis did with entartete Literature, and banning them, as in modern Germany?
I would love to hear your opinion. My German professors are brainwashed, as you can imagine. They grew up in modern Germany, so they're full of guilt.
David Irving replies:
THANK you so much for writing to me. It gets even more amusing than your teacher suggests. Leni Riefenstahl, whom I knew well, made an almost identical film the year earlier, called Victory of Faith. It was the film of the 1933 Party Rally. It is much more "human" than Triumph of the Will: A party bigwig knocks Hitler's hat onto the floor by accident; each of them glare at it, neither wants to be seen stooping to pick it up in front of 100,000 worshippers.
Hitler ordered this film banned, every copy withdrawn and destroyed, because it shows him smooching with Ernst Röhm, the Brownshirt chieftain - Röhm (right) looks a bit like Benny Hill, and was purged, liquidated, by the Nazis a few months later in June 1934.
So the Nazis ordered that film banned; one copy survived, and we market it (click on "videos"). It is far better in my view than Leni's "Triumph." Now the German Government has also banned it. Go figure!
Please give me a mailing address -- it doesn't have to be your own -- and I will send you free a copy of each of these two Leni Riefenstahl DVDs to view in full and compare with your friends.