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Helene, a German girl living in Kassel during the Second World War, is against Nazism. Her father and uncle have been arrested on charges of conspiracy, and her friend Gert is forced to enrol in the German army, along with all the other boys in his class. Helene, for her part, is sent to a training camp for young troublemakers. The matrons at the camp are particularly hard on her, and as a punishment she is sent to work on a farm, where she takes care of two little orphan girls.
Helene and the young girls escape and are eventually rescued by Ulrich, a First World War veteran who disapproves of Nazism. Helene and her protector make their way back to her hometown of Kassel, now under bombardment by the Allies.
Surmounting all sorts of daily difficulties and humiliations, Helene eventually regains her freedom. Just when things seem most hopeless, an inner strength drives her on, filling her with a fierce determination to see her loved ones again.
This heart-rending story offers a glimpse into the fate of young Germans who resisted the Nazi regime. A number of historical notes also provide information about Nazism in general.