Zerlett-Olfenius, Walter

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Zerlett-Olfenius, Walter Gender: M
Walter Julius Otto Zerlett
born on 7 April 1897 at 22:00 (= 10:00 PM )
Place Wiesbaden, Germany, 50n05, 8e14
Timezone MET h1e (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 18°18' s_mo.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 20°29 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 19°42'


German screenwriter, who worked on films for UFA (Universum Film AG), from 1936 until 1945. His most notable project, was the 1943 Nazi film about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The film cost four million Reichsmarks (approximately $180 million US), making it one of the most expensive films ever made.

Active as a screenwriter, since 1935, he began a close collaboration with director Herbert Selpin, that would last until Selpin's death during the making of Titanic.

While filming Titanic, Selpin allegedly made disparaging remarks about the German chances of victory in the war, and about the strength and morale of the armed forces. Zerlett-Olfenius reported this to his close friend, Hans Hinkel, saying Selpin had "vile calumnies and insults German soldiers at the front and front-line officers" of himself. Selpin was subsequently arrested and was killed in his cell after refusing to recant (though the official cause of death was suicide).

In August 1947, Zerlett-Olfenius was sentenced by a German court to four years in a labour camp for his involvement in Selpin's death. Fifty percent of his assets were confiscated. This sentence was revoked in 1949 on appeal. Together with his actress wife, Eva Tinschmann, he retired to Rosshaupten in Bavaria. Zerlett-Olfenius never again worked in the film industry. He died on 18 April 1975 in Füssen, aged 78.

Link to Wikipedia biography



Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth registry entry from Hesse Archives.


  • Vocation : Writers : Playwright/ script (Screenwriter)