Morituri (1948 film)


Original German poster
Directed by Eugen York
Produced by Artur Brauner
Written by Artur Brauner (idea)
Gustav Kampendonk
Starring Walter Richter
Winnie Markus
Lotte Koch
Music by Wolfgang Zeller
Cinematography Werner Krien
Edited by Walter Wischniewsky
Distributed by Schorcht Filmgesellschaft mbH
Release dates
  • 24 September 1948 (1948-09-24)
Running time
88 minutes
Country Germany
Language German

Morituri is a 1948 German black-and-white drama film produced by Artur Brauner's CCC Film. The film was directed by Eugen York and starred Walter Richter, Winnie Markus and Lotte Koch. It features the onscreen debut of German actor Klaus Kinski[1] as a Dutch concentration camp prisoner.[2]


As the end of the Second World War approaches and the Soviet Red Army is advancing, a group of concentration camp inmates is helped to escape by a Polish doctor. They hide in a wood where they meet other fugitives, who have been there for months, constantly in fear of being discovered. Out of fear of the German army patrols, they do not dare to leave the forest, even as the food supplies run low. The Polish doctor blows up a bridge, attracting the German troops' attention to the forest. The soldiers come perilously close to the hidden fugitives, but in the last moment have to retreat before the approaching Red Army units.



The title comes from the Latin expression Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant.

Making this film was a very personal project for Artur Brauner. The script is based on an idea of his and this was only the second film made by his company CCC Film.[3]

Exteriors were shot near Berlin in Brandenburg, interiors in Berlin-Tempelhof. Principal cinematography was from September 1947 to January 1948.[2]


The film was first shown on 28 August 1948 at the Venice Film Festival on the Lido di Venezia, Italy.

It premiered in the Waterloo-Theater, Hamburg, Germany on 24 September 1948.[3] It was released at the Neues Scala Kino in Berlin on 16 November 1948.[2] The film was a commercial disaster, with audiences hissing and booing. A theater in Hamburg was vandalized, after which other theater owners, fearful of reprisal by Nazi sympathizers, refused to show the film.[4] It was called Freiwild in Austria.[2]

Morituri was aired on German television station ZDF on 7 April 1991.[2]

In 2009 Artur Brauner donated the film to Yad Vashem along with 20 other Holocaust-related films he had produced.[5][6]


  1. Lyman, Rick. "Morituri". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Morituri Fritz Bauer Institut / Cinematography of the Holocaust. Retrieved 2 March 2012
  3. 1 2 "Filmportal: Morituri (German)". Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  4. William Boston, "Burying the Past" Time (1 October 2003). Accessible only to subscribers. Retrieved 29 February 2012
  5. "German film producer to receive Yad Vashem honour" Deutsche Presse-Agentur (2010). Retrieved 1 March 2012
  6. Liat Benhabib and Mimi Ash, "Visual Center Receives Artur Brauner Film Collection" (PDF) Yad Vashem Jerusalem Quarterly Magazine Vol. 57, (April 2010), p. 20. Retrieved 1 March 2012
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