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Unworthy, The (Unwertigen, Die)

Unworthy, The
Scene from "The Unworthy" (photo © Kalmenhof Idstein)

The Unworthy addresses a previously neglected aspect of the Nazi era. The Nazis categorized children on the basis of their value system. Worthy children were nurtured, unworthy children were culled and annihilated.

Waltraud’s mother was taken to a concentration camp for calling Hitler a pig, while Waltraud and her three siblings were put into homes. They got separated and did not see each other again until 1949.

Günter was sent to a youth concentration camp for listening to swing music at 16. Along with other young people between the ages of 8 and 20, he was forced to work in a munitions factory. Many of them did not survive.

Elfriede was told she was retarded and found out that children were being euthanized for being “mentally deficient”. She survived that nightmare but remained imprisoned in a children’s home until 1970.

Richard, born out of wedlock, was wrested from his mother and forced into slave labor at the age of two. He never saw his mother again.

The film also explores the consequences which continue to affect those concerned to this day and the willingness of the German government to finally acknowledge the suffering of the victims.


Renate Günther-Greene was born in 1944 in the former Czechoslovakia, grew up in Vienna, and moved to Düsseldorf at the age of 25. She was creative director at an international advertising agency, creating and producing TV campaigns, before she started making documentary films. Her films include: The ABC of Life (2006), There is no G in Box (Das G muss weg, 2006), The Man Who Listens (Ein Mann hört zu, 2007), Before the Tracks are Lost on the Wind (Ehe die Spuren verwehen, 2007), Düsseldorf-Theresienstadt 50 Reichsmark (2008), and The Unworthy (Die Unwertigen, 2009).
Genre History
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2009
Director Renate Günther-Greene
Cinematography Justyna Feicht
Margit Bauer
Cast Heinz Schreyer, Dr. Elisabeth Schaub, Elfriede Rybak, Waltraud Richard, Günter Discher, Almut Christ, Richard Sucker
Producer Christian Schalthöfer
Production Company menschentaucher Film & Kommunikation/Düsseldorf for 3sat/Cologne, WDR
Length 86 min
Format DigiBeta PAL, color, 16:9
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Stereo
Festivals Bradford 2009
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW

World Sales
menschentaucher Film & Kommunikation
renate.guenther-greene@menschentaucher.de
http://www.menschentaucher.de