Some films were removed after backlash from Americans Against Antisemitism, but many are still available.
We were shocked to learn this week that Amazon is peddling antisemitic, Nazi-era propaganda films. A list prepared by Americans Against Antisemitism documented more than 30 films available on the world’s leading online shop.
While we are pleased to see that half the videos on the list have already been removed, a number of DVDs by some of the Nazi regime’s most notorious filmmakers are still available for purchase or rent.
Most prominent among the 17 DVDS available is at least one version of “Triumph of the Will,” which is considered one of the greatest exercises in video propaganda of all time.
Directed by Leni Riefenstahl with Adolf Hitler’s personal collaboration, “Triumph of the Will” chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party congress that was attended by 700,000 supporters. Riefenstahl’s use of moving cameras, aerial photography, extreme closeups and her method of combining music and cinematography were considered pioneering when “Triumph” was released in 1935.
American film critic Richard Corliss would later comment that the film “painted Hitler as a Wagnerian deity.”
Of special concern is that “Triumph of the Will” is available on Amazon Prime Video, a video on-demand and streaming service with more than 175 million users across the world.
Also available on Amazon is Riefenstahl’s film “Olympia,” about the 1936 Olympic games hosted in Berlin. Riefenstahl showcased the Nazi regime and made sure the film was also released in English and French. It was the first time the Olympic games were documented on film, and its cinematic techniques enthralled international audiences.
After the war, Riefenstahl was arrested by American forces. A series of trials concluded that she was not aware of the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews, and she was labeled a “fellow-traveller” who sympathized with the Nazis. She died in 2003.
Also available on Amazon is “The Rothschilds’ Shares in Waterloo.” The film was billed by the Nazis as a historical drama in which a corrupt Mayer Amschel Rothschild establishes his family’s banking dynasty by stealing German money and then engineering the collapse of London stock prices.
We appreciate that Amazon has removed a number of lesser-known Nazi films, but it’s not clear why the works of Riefenstahl and others are still available.