In the Nuba Mountains
Helicopter crash
After the crash
Leni Riefenstahl dies at the age of 101.

Leni Riefenstahl was born in Berlin in 1902. She studied painting and started her artistic career as a dancer. An injury of the knee put an end to her career. After that, she became famous as an actress, a film director, a film producer and a film reporter.

During the years of the Third Reich, Riefenstahl associated herself with the Hitler regime by making several film that put the Nazis in a favourable light, like "Triumph des Willens" of the Reich Party Congress 1934 in Nuremberg. Before the war it had won her the highest prizes on international film festivals: after the war it was considered to be a National Socialist propaganda film.

Although she was acquited of collaboration, her insistence that she had never thought of anything but her artistic work destroyed much of Leni Riefenstahl's career; there were simply too many pictures of her with the Führer.

Inspired, as she said, by George Rodger's picture of a Nuba wrestler carried on the shoulder by his team mate, she set out to 'find' these beautiful people. In 1966 she joined a German research team that went to the area of the Masakin Nuba. She returned to the Nuba Mountains several times until Nimeiri took power in Sudan and she found herself no longer welcome.

Photo reportages about her stay with the Nuba were published in magazins like Stern, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Paris Match. The books The Nuba and The Nuba of Kau were also very succesful, but her photos met with fierce critisism - most notably from Susan Sontag, who saw the glorification of the body as pure Nazi ideology. Riefenstahl's past would never leave her.

Always looking for new challanges Leni Riefenstahl attended a diving course and started working as an underwater photographer. She wrote her memoires and enjoyed a steadily growing interest in het work.

In February 2000 she travelled to the Nuba mountains to research the fate of the Nuba she had photographed. The Sudan Government made sure she was welcomed by thousands of people in Kadugli before she could learn that her best friends had become victims of the civil war.

New fights forced her to leave immediately but the helicopter crashed after a stopover in El Obeid. Riefenstahl suffered a number of rib fractures, the points of which had hurt the lungs. She survived the accident, but her iron constitution had been broken.