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Mischlinge Scene II: Triumph portrays Germans in the context of relics from the Nazi past. The work is a contemporized adaptation of Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg – the movie that set the standard for aestheticization of political power, social control and martial display. The Germans in Mischlinge are rendered in this vein – as Übermenschen, framed by the brute monumentality of Nazi-era architecture.

But while the images co-opt the visual language of Triumph of the Will, they ultimately serve to undermine the Weltanschauung propagated by the original: Nazi racial categories are mooted by the ethnically diverse German cast. This diversity is further accentuated through a “portraiture of genotype,” using the medium of autosomal DNA tests.

The images were created at Nazi-era monuments throughout Germany. However, the Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg – the set of Riefenstahl’s film – are conspicuously absent. When Triumph of the Will was shot there in September 1934, the Nazis had been in power for only 19 months. Drastic changes in virtually all areas of life were prophesied – the regime’s defining deeds, however, still lay in the future.

Triumph picks up where the film left off – at locations where the “promises” of 1934 were translated into action: at the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, which was charged with popularizing „racial hygiene;“ at Hermann Göring’s Reich Aviation Ministry; at the former Nazi Party training school at Vogelsang; at Buchenwald concentration camp.

What emerges in Triumph is a portrait of uneasy coexistences: Between past and present. Between the seeming plausibility of delusions and the seeming implausibility of reality. Between innocence by definition (even the oldest cast member was an infant in 1945) in the shadow of the definition of guilt. Between the model democracy that Germany has become and a lingering ethnocentric view of Germanness. Ultimately, between what is not yet past and what could come to fruition – a Germany that, by embracing its diversity, stands to attain genuine self-confidence.

 

A Mercury Production

Direction, Photography: Marc Erwin Babej

With Texts By: Dr. Karamba Diaby (Member of the Bundestag), Prof. Dr. Thomas Kühne, Asi Meskin, Ray Müller and Collien Ulmen-Fernandes
Historical Advisor: Prof. Dr. Volker Berghahn
Editor: Rebecca Sternthal
Assistant Direction: Alex Vanderheyden
Associate Producer: Katie Stretton
Location Managers: Dr. Philip Aumann, Gloria Bialas, Andrea Dietrich, Martin Chaudhuri, Dr. Dirk Frank, Kai Hampel, Roman Hövel, Martin Jäger, Dr. Philipp Neumann-Thein, Britta Voihse, Stefan Wunsch

Cast
Pina Akin
Karen Ardinast
Aminata Belli
Robert Dölle
Gabriela Goldenberg
Penelope Heilmann
Rainer Höß
Yasmin Jamal
Maleen Johannsen
Zara Persephone Jones
Anastasia Kholosta
Julia Kristin Kunz
Laura Lindermann
Michelle Malter
Myriem
Cem Özdemir (Member of the Bundestag)
Janina Scheuer
Wlada Schüler
Rachel Theloy
Jana Wirth

  • Anastasia Sedlick
    59% E.Eur., 20% N.Eur., 16% W.Eur., 3% Ib.Pen.
    Anastasia Sedlick
  • In the Courtyard of the Former Reich Aviation Ministry
    Wlada Schüler: 89% E.Eur., 6% Caucasus, 3% Eur.-J.
    In the Courtyard of the Former Reich Aviation Ministry
  • Mischlinge Scene II: Triumph – Title
    Janina Scheuer: 83% W.Eur., 6% Ib.Pen., 2% each Eur.-J., N.Eur. and It./Gr. Maleen Johannsen: 56% W.Eur., 42% N.Eur.
    Mischlinge Scene II: Triumph – Title
  • In the “Hall of Honor” at Former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport
    Laura Lindermann: 63% E.Eur., 30% W.Eur., 6% N.Eur., Zara Jones: (Proof of Ancestry pending) Pina Akin: 67% Caucasus, 18% It./Gr., 4% Eur.-J., 3% M.E.
    In the “Hall of Honor” at Former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport
  • Julia Kunz
    45% W.Eur., 28% N.Eur., 10% each E.Eur. and It./Gr., 2% each Ireland and Ib.Pen.
    Julia Kunz
  • The Foreigner Myriem
    Proof of Ancestry pending
    The Foreigner Myriem
  • In the Foyer of the FormerReich Aviation Ministry
    Behind these imposing doors are, and always have been… toilets. The entrance from the foyer into the main part of this monumental building isn’t closely as impressive. Zara Jones: (Proof of Ancestry pending) Laura Lindermann: 63% E.Eur., 30% W.Eur., 6% N.Eur.
    In the Foyer of the FormerReich Aviation Ministry
  • Jana Wirth
    53% N.Eur., 42% E.Eur., 3% W.Eur.
    Jana Wirth
  • In the Staircase of the Reich Aviation Ministry
    Wlada Schüler: 89% E.Eur., 6% Caucasus, 3% Eur.-J. Cem Özdemir: 84% Caucasus, 13% It./Gr., 1% M.E.
    In the Staircase of the Reich Aviation Ministry
  • At the Torchbearer Monument of Former Nazi Elite School Vogelsan
    Rachel Theloy: 55% N.Eur., 27% E.Eur., 9% It./Gr., 5% W.Eur., 3% Ib.Pen. Yasmin Jamal: 56% M.E., 20% Caucasus, 18% It./Gr., 5% Eur.-J., 1% N. Africa Robert Dölle: 94% Eur.-J., 2% Caucasus, 2% M.E.
    At the Torchbearer Monument of Former Nazi Elite School Vogelsan
  • Bettina Niedermann
    57% W-Eur., 28% E- Eur. , 7% It./Gr., 4% Ib., 2% Eur.-J.
    Bettina Niedermann
  • Tansania-Park
    A 1939 monument glorifying German colonialism in Africa, located next to the former Lettow-Vorbeck barracks in Hamburg. Aminata Belli: 36% Senegal, 21% E.Eur., 12% N.Eur., 6% each Nigeria and W.Eur., 4% each It./Gr. and Ireland, 2% M.E.
    Tansania-Park
  • Mephistopheles
    The actor Robert Dölle as Gustaf Gründgens’ Mephistopheles on the “Thingplatz” event stage of the former NS Elite School Vogelsang. Robert Dölle: 94% Eur.-J., 2% Caucasus, 2% M.E. Yasmin Jamal: 56% M.E., 20% Caucasus, 18% It./Gr., 5% Eur.- J., 1% N. Africa Rachel Theloy: 55% N.Eur., 27% E.Eur., 9% It./Gr., 5% W.Eur., 3% Ib.Pen.
    Mephistopheles
  • Laura Lindermann
    ... in the Hall of Honor at former Berlin airport Tempelhof. 63% E.Eur., 30% W.Eur., 6% N.Eur.
    Laura Lindermann
  • Anthropometric Examination
    Julia Kunz: 45% W.Eur., 28% N.Eur., 10% each E.Eur. and It./Gr., 2% each Ireland and Ib.Pen. Bettina Niedermann: 57% W.Eur., 28% E.Eur., 7% It./Gr., 4% Ib.Pen., 2% Eur.-J. Penelope Heilmann: 30% W.Eur. 25% Ib.Pen. 20% N.Eur., 17% It./Gr.
    Anthropometric Examination
  • At the Memorial to the 76th Infantry Regiment in Hamburg
    Aminata Belli: 36% Senegal, 21% E.Eur., 12% N.Eur., 6% each Nigeria and W.Eur., 4% each It./Gr. and Ireland, 2% M.E. Anastasia Kholosta: 71% E.Eur., 17% Eur.-J., 6% N.Eur., 2% Central Asia
    At the Memorial to the 76th Infantry Regiment in Hamburg
  • In the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden
    Laura Lindermann: 63% E.Eur., 30% W.Eur., 6% N.Eur.
    In the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden
  • At the V-2 Rocket
    … in the former Peenemünde Army Research Center, now the Historical-Technical Museum Peenemünde. Laura Lindermann: 63% E.Eur., 30% W.Eur., 6% N.Eur. Michelle Malter: 51% N.Eur., 39% E.Eur., 8% W.Eur., 3% Ireland, 1% Eur.-J.
    At the V-2 Rocket
  • At the V-1 Cruise Missile
    ... in the Former Peenemünde Army Research Center (Now the Historical-Technical Museum, Peenemünde) Laura Lindermann: 63% E.Eur., 30% W.Eur., 6% N.Eur. Michelle Malter: 51% N.Eur., 39% E.Eur., 8% W.Eur., 3% Ireland, 1% Eur.-J.
    At the V-1 Cruise Missile
  • Behind Barbed Wire
    Rainer Höß in the former Buchenwald Concentration Camp. 35% W-Eur., 33% O-Eur., 21% N-Eur., 7% It./Gr., 4% Ib.
    Behind Barbed Wire
  • Rainr Höß on the Führer Balcony
    …of the Hotel Elephant in Weimar. A favorite of the Nazi elite, the 1937 rebuilding of the hotel by Hermann Giesler included not one, but two balconies designed specifically for Hitler to stand on. The sign above Rainer Höß contains a line from Goethe's Faust: "Here, I can be human, here I can feel at ease." 35% W.Eur., 33% E.Eur., 21% N.Eur., 7% It./Gr., 4% Ib.Pen.
    Rainr Höß on the Führer Balcony

Mischlinge Scene II: Triumph portrays Germans in the context of relics from the Nazi past. The work is a contemporized adaptation of Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg – the movie that set the standard for aestheticization of political power, social control and martial display. The Germans in Mischlinge are rendered in this vein – as Übermenschen, framed by the brute monumentality of Nazi-era architecture.

But while the images co-opt the visual language of Triumph of the Will, they ultimately serve to undermine the Weltanschauung propagated by the original: Nazi racial categories are mooted by the ethnically diverse German cast. This diversity is further accentuated through a “portraiture of genotype,” using the medium of autosomal DNA tests.

The images were created at Nazi-era monuments throughout Germany. However, the Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg – the set of Riefenstahl’s film – are conspicuously absent. When Triumph of the Will was shot there in September 1934, the Nazis had been in power for only 19 months. Drastic changes in virtually all areas of life were prophesied – the regime’s defining deeds, however, still lay in the future.

Triumph picks up where the film left off – at locations where the “promises” of 1934 were translated into action: at the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, which was charged with popularizing „racial hygiene;“ at Hermann Göring’s Reich Aviation Ministry; at the former Nazi Party training school at Vogelsang; at Buchenwald concentration camp.

What emerges in Triumph is a portrait of uneasy coexistences: Between past and present. Between the seeming plausibility of delusions and the seeming implausibility of reality. Between innocence by definition (even the oldest cast member was an infant in 1945) in the shadow of the definition of guilt. Between the model democracy that Germany has become and a lingering ethnocentric view of Germanness. Ultimately, between what is not yet past and what could come to fruition – a Germany that, by embracing its diversity, stands to attain genuine self-confidence.

 

A Mercury Production

Direction, Photography: Marc Erwin Babej

With Texts By: Dr. Karamba Diaby (Member of the Bundestag), Prof. Dr. Thomas Kühne, Asi Meskin, Ray Müller and Collien Ulmen-Fernandes
Historical Advisor: Prof. Dr. Volker Berghahn
Editor: Rebecca Sternthal
Assistant Direction: Alex Vanderheyden
Associate Producer: Katie Stretton
Location Managers: Dr. Philip Aumann, Gloria Bialas, Andrea Dietrich, Martin Chaudhuri, Dr. Dirk Frank, Kai Hampel, Roman Hövel, Martin Jäger, Dr. Philipp Neumann-Thein, Britta Voihse, Stefan Wunsch

Cast
Pina Akin
Karen Ardinast
Aminata Belli
Robert Dölle
Gabriela Goldenberg
Penelope Heilmann
Rainer Höß
Yasmin Jamal
Maleen Johannsen
Zara Persephone Jones
Anastasia Kholosta
Julia Kristin Kunz
Laura Lindermann
Michelle Malter
Myriem
Cem Özdemir (Member of the Bundestag)
Janina Scheuer
Wlada Schüler
Rachel Theloy
Jana Wirth