Cologne towards the end of the Second World War. The city is in ruins, everyone is afraid, many are dead. It is a time of great inhumanity. Cologne’s young Edelweiss Pirates refuse to submit to the pressure of the Nazi regime. They fight with the Hitler Youth and scrawl anti-war propaganda on walls. Karl is an Edelweiss Pirate; his younger brother, Peter, is in the Hitler Youth movement. The two young men have been alone ever since their mother’s death in a bombing raid; their father is serving at the front, and their older brother, Otto, has been killed in action. Otto’s financée, Cilly, is doing her best to survive the war with her children. Carl is trying to help her.