Last, it is misleading to say that Riefenstahl was “tried twice, and acquitted twice” after the war. What happened is that she was briefly arrested by the Allies in 1945 and two of her sumptuous houses (in Berlin and Munich) were seized. Examinations and court appearances started in 1948, continuing intermittently until 1952 when she was finally “de-Nazified” with the verdict: “No political activity in support of the Nazi regime which would warrant punishment.” Most important: whether or not Riefenstahl deserved punishment at the hands of the law, it was not her “acquaintance” with the Nazi leadership but her activities as a leading propagandist for the Third Reich that were at issue.
Washington’s physicians, as doctors are wont to do, argued heatedly over the precise cause of death. Dr. Craik insisted that it was “inflammatory quinsy,” or peritonsillar abscess. Dr. Dick rejected such a possibility and offered three alternative diagnoses: stridular suffocatis (a blockage of the throat or larynx), laryngea (inflammation and suppuration of the larynx), or cynanche trachealis . The last arcane medical diagnosis (from the Latin, for “dog strangulation”), which prevailed as the accepted cause of Washington’s death for some time, referred to an inflammation and swelling of the glottis, larynx and upper trachea severe enough to obstruct the airway.