The three working-class children Peter, Lotte and Frieda grow up with a hard-hearted foster mother and are regularly beaten by her husband, a brutal alcoholic. One day he kills a rabbit the children love and temporarily chases them out of the house into the rain. Lotte falls ill with a fever and dies because the foster mother does not call for the doctor in time. Peter secretly enters "starved to death" on the death certificate and thus achieves that the foster parents are deprived of custody.
Gerhard Lamprecht became known for his so-called Zille films: Films that were semi-documentaries set in the proletarian milieu and had an enlightened approach. "Die Unehelichen" is a special film of those years. The egoistic, callous world of adults stands against a caring world of children.