Leni Riefenstahl's Memoiren

Leni Riefenstahl's Memoiren is the 1987 autobiography of German film director, Leni Riefenstahl. The book received a 1993 American release and coincided with the release of the acclaimed documentary; The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl as well as Riefenstahl's ninetieth birthday. It was featured on the 1993 New York Times list of notable books of the year.[1]

Leni Riefenstahl: Memoiren
First edition cover in Germany
AuthorLeni Riefenstahl
LanguageEnglish (translated), German
PublisherAuflage (Germany)
St Martins Press (1993) (US)
Quarter (UK) (1992)
Publication date
Published in English
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages928 (German), 668 (English)
Preceded by'Mein Afrika 
Followed by'Wunder unter Wasser 

Editions of the book also appear as The Sieve of Time: The Memoirs of Leni Riefenstahl (UK) and Leni Riefenstahl: A Memoir (US).[2]


Riefenstahl recounts her life as the foremost film director of the Third Reich who directed films such as Triumph of the Will and Olympia. She also deals with her post-war life, and the stigma of her past that thwarted future productions. She accounts for her acclaimed career as a photographer, notably that of Sudan's Nuba tribe recounted in The Last of the Nuba and other publications. The book also includes memoirs of her underwater marine explorations and her photography which had been published as Coral Gardens.


The book garnered a positive critical reception. Notably, it was featured in the New York Times list of Notable Books of the Year 1993. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, John Simon said the memoir did not contain "a single unspellbinding page." Although he questioned some of the veracity of her accounts, he concluded "The book must, in the main, be true; it is far too weird for fiction."[3]


  1. Notable Books of the Year 1993 New York Times. 5 December 1993
  2. Rother, Rainer (1 October 2003). Leni Riefenstahl: The Seduction of Genius. A&C Black. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-8264-7023-2.
  3. Leni Riefenstahl, 101, Dies; Film Innovator Tied to Hitler New York Times. 10 September 2003
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