The dream-like opening sequences, the so-called “prologue” of “Olympia”, was not shot by Riefenstahl himself, but by cameraman Willy Zielke, who is not mentioned in the end credits of the film. He did not even experience the premiere, as new research by Riefenstahl critic Nina Gladitz (72) shows, who traces it in a new book (“Leni Riefenstahl: Career of a perpetrator”).
According to this, Riefenstahl appropriated work from Zielke with blind zeal – after he himself had been sent to psychiatry after a nervous breakdown. Riefenstahl, writes Gladitz, had initially plunged the man into despair because she had cut his opening scene beyond recognition (he had not carefully read his contract, which granted her this right). When he was supervised, she used her relationships with high Nazi circles to let him work for her against his will: From then on, Zielke had to work for her in the editing room. As a kind of serf with no rights of his own.