Leni Riefenstahl – putting a gloss on Hitler’s lies

The Dictator’s Muse is a new novel about Leni Riefenstahl, the film director known variously as the greatest female film director of the 20th century and a Nazi propagandist. Her two 1930s films “Triumph of the Will” about the 1934 Nuremberg Rally and Olympia were highly effective in giving artistic expression to the “Hitler myth”, presenting the Nazi leader as a Wagnerian demigod. It was a celluloid portrayal of the Big Lie laid out in Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The bigger the lie, the more believable it is.

  Despite having been a Hitler favourite and invited into the inner circle she was cleared of collaboration post-war and although her reputation was damaged, she was still taken up by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jodie Foster, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean Cocteau and Mick Jagger, who were attracted to her talents as a film-maker. Unsurprisingly Roger Ailes, the man who more or less invented Trump the politician through Fox News, was a great admirer of her work. Ailes had run Richard Nixon’s successful 1968 presidential campaign and later admitted he had based his tactics on Triumph of the Will.

  In her own life and writings Riefenstahl was evidently an unreliable narrator of the facts. As writer Nigel Farndale puts it: “She subtly fictionalised her own life, living on the border between her truths and her lies, so that even she no longer seemed to know the difference.”

  She was born 22 August 1902 8pm Berlin, and astonishingly appeared to have had a Jewish maternal grandmother which fact she buried in order to be able to work and function in Germany. Her love life was as ‘pioneering’ in feminist terms as her films with a harem of cameramen and actors whom she lifted and laid as it suited her.

  She had a hard-working 6th house entertaining Leo Sun trine an innovative Uranus which in turn was in a revolutionary opposition to Pluto – she certainly knew how to experiment, innovate and push back the leading edges.  She also had a hard-edged, can-be-destructive Saturn in Capricorn opposition Mars in Cancer in her performing 5th house – and a superficially charming Jupiter in Aquarius opposition Venus sextile/trine an Aries Moon. Her 4th house Neptune was opposition her Midheaven square her Moon and sextile her Mercury and Sun casting a smokescreen over her roots and promoting her imaginative and truth-distorting streak.

  Her Venus in Leo was conjunct Hitler’s Midheaven so her creative flamboyance did help promote his reputation. His Jupiter Moon fell in her 10th for a career-boost the other way with his Midheaven in her entertainment 5th house.

  Their relationship chart had a ramped-up affectionate and friendly composite Sun Venus Mars conjunction. With the composite Mars conjunct Neptune Pluto suggesting dark undertones of megalomania and cruelty.

  She never admitted to being aware of what Hitler had been up to and died aged 101, having spent some years in Africa.                       

18 thoughts on “Leni Riefenstahl – putting a gloss on Hitler’s lies

  1. Marina, How fascinating. Certainly any historical letters/documents should be preserved for posterity. Your best bet initially would be Nick Campion : E-mail: n.campion@uwtsd.ac.uk
    The Centre teaches the history of astrology, has an extensive programme of publication, and has held a series of conferences on the history of astrology. Academic work has been published through Culture and Cosmos, and student work has been published through Spica, especially Vol. 5 no 1. The major work is Nicholas Campion’s two volume History of Western Astrology, volume 1 on the ancient world and volume 2 on the medieval and modern worlds.

    I read decades back – and still have – Ellic Howe’s book “Urania’s Children: The Strange World of the Astrologers” which covers this period. It is still available though pricey. His view was that Wohl was a fraud and sold the line about Kraft as a way of gaining employment throughout the war despite Kraft being despatched to a concentration camp in 1942. But that may be just one author’s view. Anyway the historians would love to disentangle it. When I have a moment I’ll try to skip through and post relevant info from it.
    Louis de Wohl, 24 January 1903 7.45pm Berlin – a Sun Saturn in Aquarius with Venus, Mercury, Jupiter also in Aquarius and Pluto and Neptune in his 10th.

    • Thank you very much Marjorie.
      I read the relevant passages in Uranias Children many moons ago.
      As you say it maybe the authors opinion re De Whol, but I think my grandfather found him a bit flakey too, but thats just hearsay as he died when I was young and we never discussed it.

      As to Kraft I think its pretty definite that was his role. As I mentioned Ive seen quite a lot online, admittedly some of which I cant translate.

      Anyway if I find anything more Ill let you know if you are interested.
      Again thank you for the recommendation of Campion as an option.
      All the best

  2. Ooh that Mars, Saturn square the node, Fatherland Uber alles, reinforced by the propagandist Neptune on the IC.
    Youve gotta love astrology, the gift of symbolism that just keeps on giving!

    • Indeed! I noticed that Black Moon Lilith is at 21 Sagittarius, close to Uranus and opposite Pluto. Pluto aligns with the asteroid Pallas – strategy and politics. The whole pattern suggests some deep and disruptive ways of communicating, carefully calculated, as in a game. Minor planet Ceres is exactly conjunct Mars, opposing Saturn, for a female “warrior” who is eternally at odds with society, men, and the establishment in some way. For LR it seems that would be expressed in her sex life.

      So many were taken in by Hitler, or admired him. I found this so hard to understand, until recent political developments revealed just how easy it is to fool some of the people all of the time…..

      • I have BML conjunct Uranus, Jane. I think it’s a sort of drive to liberation, total freedom from usual constraints, however you live that out. She certainly evaded the conventional expectations of women at that time. I read a little about her early years and it was her mother, rather than her father who encouraged her creativity.

        I have no idea what anyone saw in Hitler. I remember my Grandfather saying that if someone like Hitler arose in the U.K., he would be ridiculed by gangs of mocking children as he walked down the street. But then we did have that clown, Mosley. And…ahem…Johnson.

          • Yes, I think the BML/Uranus is quite significant. I have BML conjunct Venus, and also have a strong drive towards freedom from conventional expectations of women’s role in society.

            The curious thing about Hitler is his Uranus in the 12th, which can be “mediumistic” or capable of channeling the zeitgeist in some way – maybe through it’s square to the Moon’s Nodes. He represented a terrifying swing against the Weimar Republic, prompted by alarming economic chaos. Yet the sexual and creative freedom of those years was also rejected, and in such a short time too. Leni Riefenstahl’s private life was in no way compatible with the ideal Nazi woman’s role in life. She must have been very careful to hide that side of her nature.

            I agree with your grandfather about a reaction to Hitler in the UK. Although it would be possible for someone who could tune into, or represent, some people’s needs and wishes to prevail for a time. Oliver Cromwell, for instance? 25th April, 1599, Julian Calendar, with Uranus conjunct Pluto in Aries trine Neptune in Leo – revolutionary dreams of power writ large there I think!

          • @ virgo
            The english aristocratie admired hitler. But one should not forget that he was brought into power by the german elite.
            The common man followed as usual.
            War business is alway a very lucrative business. Money making always much admired

          • Some of the English aristocracy, specifically the Mitfords extended crowd, but by no means the majority.

          • Indeed, it was a gross generalisation on my part. And of course context is important – no one wanted another war like the previous one. Hitler was the British Aristocracy; in the early years of the Third Reich, Nazi propaganda had been favourable to Britain, as Hitler had hoped for an Anglo-German alliance.

          • My pleasure Virgoflake.
            Im not sure what to do with this rich history. Somewhere I have a photocopy of the original letter sent to me by my aunt who has now died. I also saw some of the correspondance online but not in English, as my grandfathers writings have been archived.
            I feel it should be archived somewhere for astrological posterity and the story with it, but dont know with whom.
            Perhaps the Astrological association of GB?

            Unless you have any ideas or perhaps you do Marjorie?

          • That’s a very alluring Black Moon Lilith you have, Jane! I think that’s a very aesthetic placement too, perhaps breaking free of artistic or creative constraints or conventions.

          • Thanks VF! BML/Venus is what prompted me to learn more about what BML might mean or how it works out in a natal chart. Quite hard to get a hold of it really – as we’ve discussed before, some of the interpretations are rather biased against women.

        • Yes he did woo them.
          My grandfather was there during it all, as an ambassador from Eastern Europe,
          he was one of those who warned Chamberlain about appeasing Hitler.
          As a result he was painted as a warmonger and slandered in the Daily Mail, as Lord Rothemere was an ‘aristocrat’ who very much supported both Hitler and Mosely.

          That the paper is still existant after that full throated support of Hitler is frankly disturbing.

          On an astrological aside, Hitlers astrologer Karl Kraft wrote to my grandfather to try and pull him in to Hitlers circle and convince him of astrology.
          As a result my grandfather told Churchill he needed to hire an astrologer whether he believed in it or not [ my grandfather was neutral on the subject] so he would know what advice Hitler was getting.

          Louis de Whol was then hired by MI5. He was a frequent visitor to my grandparents house, and used to do little reversed pen sketches of the family. But he was a strange man by all accounts, and perhaps not a very good astrologer.
          Still, he read my grandfathers chart and warned him that if he returned to his homeland he would be killed by either the Germans or the Russians.
          Fortunately Churchill gave him political asylum so I guess my family have Louis De Whol to thank for our lives 😉

          I didnt know any of this when I started studying astrology at the beginning of the 90s.
          How weird and synchronicitous is life?

          • That’s fascinating Marina, what an extraordinary gem of previously buried family history? It would be interesting to look up Louis de Whol’s own chart. As for the role of astrology in Intelligence, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even know that British Intelligence hired an astrologer during WW2 or the name of Hitler’s astrologer. Many thanks.

      • Yes the rule of three is always there.
        As to Leni, with that Saturn mars opp in Cap and Cancer respectively, and Jupiter in Aquarius opp venus in Leo, I would argue that she was deeply looking for male/father figure approval and simultaneously rebelling against it.
        i also imagine that Neptune on the IC made it harder for her to understand that, quite appart from deception/hiding her Jewish roots.

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