Gregor is a young soldier entering Germany with the victorious Soviet troops at the end of WWII. But he is also the child of left-wing Germans who fled from Hitler and spent the war in the Soviet Union. As a result, his return to Germany is ambivalent; he finds he is a stranger in his own land. As they enter Germany, Gregor begins to realize that he is different from all his comrades in arms, for this defeated land is his home country, the Germans he meets are his compatriots. He is a victor, but also one of the vanquished. He attempts to understand the Germans he meets along his way, but he is a 19-year-old: inquisitive, occasionally uncomprehending and repeatedly dismayed by the atrocities and lies he encounters.