Johanna Gastdorf as Friedhelms Mutter
Shortly before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, five close friends have a party in Berlin. The brothers Wilhelm and Friedhelm are respectively an officer and enlisted man in the military. Viktor is a Jew who owns a tailor shop. Charlotte has just passed her examination to become a military nurse. Greta is a beautiful bartender who wishes to become a famous singer. The friends are hopeful that they will meet again by Christmas.
Wilhelm and Friedhelm witness some early victories as the German army heads toward Moscow. Charlotte gets used to seeing blood as she works near the front-line. Greta sleeps with a major in the Gestapo to advance her career as a singer, and to obtain documents for Viktor to flee to New York City, since the rights of Jews are being diminished. However, Viktor is arrested by the Gestapo and is put on a train to a concentration camp.Read More
The invasion is being pushed back by the Soviets, causing high casualties for the Germans. Wilhelm gets wounded and left for dead. When he wakes up, instead of going back to the base, he finds a cabin by a lake and lives on his own for a few weeks. He is discovered by the German Army and sentenced to death for desertion. Friedhelm is sent back home, but seeing his father's disappointment with Wilhelm's apparent death, and lack of appreciation for Friedhelm's survival, Friedhelm enlists again. Viktor escapes the Germans and joins a group of Polish partisans, but tries to conceal his Jewish race because they hate Jews. Charlotte feels despair over Wilhelm's apparent death and starts an affair with the doctor. Greta visits the front-line and becomes disillusioned by what she sees. She is arrested and thrown into prison for making remarks in public that disapprove of the war and the regime.Read More
The Soviet army is pushing toward Berlin. Not just the war is doomed but National Socialism's existence. Wilhelm's death sentence is lowered to probation. The probation officer abuses Wilhelm, who ultimately reacts by killing him and running. Viktor is expelled from the partisans for being a Jew. He crosses paths with Friedhelm, who kills his commanding officer so Viktor can escape. After the German army falls apart, Friedhelm dies while leading a group of German militia, sacrificing himself to make his troops surrender. Charlotte is captured by the Soviets and becomes a nurse for them. Greta is executed by the Nazi German authorities for her speech crimes. Years later, the three survivors, Wilhelm, Viktor, and Charlotte, meet in the same pub as before and grieve together.Read More